Information Asymmetry with Heterogeneous Buyers and Sellers in the Housing Market
29 Pages Posted: 3 May 2019
Date Written: April 2, 2019
This study examines how heterogeneous traders on both sides of transactions behave in the housing market under information asymmetry. Two types of buyers, namely, informed and uninformed buyers, correspond to local and non-local buyers in the empirical tests. Non-local housing buyers in Hong Kong pay a 2.8% premium over local buyers in the second-hand market for housing units with similar observable attributes. We distinguish real estate developers from sellers in the second-hand market. The former has an incentive and ability to reduce information asymmetry by providing a quality guarantee on the building structure and signaling with brand name, none of which can be fulfilled by sellers in the second-hand market. Empirical results show that developers’ efforts to reduce information asymmetry allow them to fetch a higher price than sellers in the second-hand market, holding property characteristics constant. Such efforts are particularly valued by uninformed buyers as non-local buyers prefer to purchase in the first-hand market rather than in the second-hand market, especially when the problem of information asymmetry is serious.
Keywords: Information asymmetry, Housing price, Non-local buyer, Developer
JEL Classification: D83, R2, R3
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