Loss Aversion and Anchoring in Commercial Real Estate Pricing: Empirical Evidence and Price Index Implications

56 Pages Posted: 5 May 2010  

Sheharyar Bokhari

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

David Geltner

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); MIT Center for Real Estate

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Date Written: May 5, 2010

Abstract

We consider two famous phenomena from behavioral economics: loss aversion (based on prospect theory), and anchoring, for the role they played in the pricing of commercial property in the U.S. during the 2000s decade. We find that loss aversion played a major role, approximately as big as was found by Genesove & Mayer in their 2001 study of the 1990s Boston housing market. We also find that more experienced investors, and larger more sophisticated investment institutions, exhibit at least as much loss aversion behavior as less experienced or smaller firms. We extend earlier research by examining how behavior changes in different market environments during the dramatic cycle of 2001-09, and discover that loss aversion operated most strongly during the cycle peak and turning point in 2007, and then became virtually ineffective during the extremely severe drop in the demand side of the market during the 2008-09 crash.

We extend previous work by developing longitudinal price indices of the U.S. commercial property market that control for, and explicitly incorporate, the behavioral phenomena we have modeled. From an econometric methodology perspective, these price indices suggest that controlling for behavioral phenomena can be quite important for developing successful hedonic price indices. The indices also suggest that, while the behavioral phenomena are important at the individual property level, the impact of the psychological loss aversion behavior reflective of prospect theory was sufficiently attenuated at the aggregate market level such that the pricing and volume cycle in the U.S. commercial property market during 2001-09 was little affected by it. However, we document substantial strategic pricing differences between sellers facing a gain compared to sellers facing a loss, consistent with a strategy to sell winners and hold onto losers, with the extent of the pricing difference varying longitudinally across the market cycle.

Keywords: Behavioral Economics, Real Estate Pricing, Commercial Real Estate, Loss Aversion, Anchoring, Hedonic Price Indices

JEL Classification: D81, D83

Suggested Citation

Bokhari, Sheharyar and Geltner, David, Loss Aversion and Anchoring in Commercial Real Estate Pricing: Empirical Evidence and Price Index Implications (May 5, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1599382 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1599382

Sheharyar Bokhari

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

David Geltner (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

MIT Center for Real Estate ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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