Real Estate Prices in Beijing, 1644 to 1840

54 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2012 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012

Daniel M. G. Raff

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Susan M. Wachter

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School, Department of Real Estate

Se Yan

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Date Written: November 15, 2012

Abstract

This paper provides the first estimates of housing price movements for Beijing in late pre-modern China. We hand-collect from archival sources transaction prices and other house attribute information from the 498 surviving house sale contracts for Beijing during the first two centuries of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1840), a long period without major wars, political turmoil, or significant institutional change in the Chinese capital. We use hedonic methods to construct a real estate price index for Beijing for the period. The regression analysis explains a major proportion of the variance of housing prices. We find that house prices grew steadily for the first half-century of the Qing Dynasty and declined afterwards in both nominal and real terms through the late eighteenth century. Nominal prices grew starting in the late eighteenth century and declined from the early nineteenth century through 1840. But these price changes occurred with contemporaneous price changes in basic measures of the cost of living: there was little change in real terms to the end of our period.

Keywords: Historic House Price Index, China Housing Market, Long Term House Price Index

JEL Classification: N95, R31

Suggested Citation

Raff, Daniel M. G. and Wachter, Susan M. and Yan, Se, Real Estate Prices in Beijing, 1644 to 1840 (November 15, 2012). Explorations in Economic History, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2176392

Daniel M. G. Raff

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Susan M. Wachter (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School, Department of Real Estate ( email )

The Wharton School
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330
United States
215-898-6355 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://real.wharton.upenn.edu/~wachter/index.html

Se Yan

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management ( email )

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

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