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Information and Search on the Housing Market: An Agent-based Model

  • John Mc Breen
  • Florence Goffette-Nagot


  • Pablo Jensen

We simulate a closed rental housing market with search and matching frictions, in which both landlord and tenant agents may be imperfectly informed of the characteristics of the market. The model hypotheses are set so as to match a rent posting search model in the spirit of search models of the labor market. In the simulations, landlords decide what rent to post based on the expected effect of the rent on the time-on-the-market (TOM) required to find a tenant. Each tenant observes their idiosyncratic preference for a random offer and decides whether to accept the offer or continue searching, based on their imperfect knowledge of the distribution of offered rents. The steady state to which the simulation evolves shows price dispersion, nonzero search times and vacancies. We further assess the effects of altering the level of information for landlords. Landlords are better off when they have less information. In that case they underestimate the TOM and so the steady-state of the market moves to higher rents. However, when landlords with different levels of information are present on the market, the better informed are consistently better off. The model setup also allows the analysis of market dynamics. It is observed that dynamic shocks to the discount rate can provoke overshoots in rent adjustments due in part to landlords use of outdated information in their rent posting decision.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa11p1395.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p1395
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  1. Jim Clayton & Greg MacKinnon & Liang Peng, 2008. "Time Variation of Liquidity in the Private Real Estate Market: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 30(2), pages 125-160.
  2. Ralph Bradburd & Stephen Sheppard & Joseph Bergeron & Eric Engler, 2004. "The Impact of Rent Controls in Non-Walrasian Markets: An Agent-Based Modeling Approach," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-05, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised May 2005.
  3. Marcus Allen & Ronald Rutherford & Thomas Thomson, 2009. "Residential Asking Rents and Time on the Market," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 351-365, May.
  4. Hwang, Min & Quigley, John M., 2006. "Economic Fundamentals in Local Housing Markets: Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Regions," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt79d325cm, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  5. Jeffrey Fisher & Dean Gatzlaff & David Geltner & Donald Haurin, 2003. "Controlling for the Impact of Variable Liquidity in Commercial Real Estate Price Indices," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 31(2), pages 269-303, 06.
  6. Arnott, Richard, 1989. "Housing Vacancies, Thin Markets, and Idiosyncratic Tastes," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, February.
  7. Bradburd, Ralph & Sheppard, Stephen & Bergeron, Joseph & Engler, Eric & Gee, Evan, 2005. "The distributional impact of housing discrimination in a non-Walrasian setting," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 61-91, June.
  8. Gabriel Desgranges & Etienne Wasmer, 2000. "Appariements sur le Marché du Logement," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8988, Sciences Po.
  9. John Mc Breen & Florence Goffette-Nagot & Pablo Jensen, 2009. "An Agent-Based Simulation of Rental Housing Markets," Post-Print halshs-00374157, HAL.
  10. Stuart A. Gabriel & Frank E. Nothaft, 1988. "Rental Housing Markets and the Natural Vacancy Rate," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 16(4), pages 419-429.
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