Interpretable Machine Learning for Real Estate Market Analysis
40 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 28, 2021
While Machine Learning (ML) excels at predictive tasks, its inferential capacity is limited due to its complex non-parametric structure. This paper aims to elucidate the analytical behavior of ML through Interpretable Machine Learning (IML) in a real estate context. Using a hedonic ML approach to predict unit-level residential rents for Frankfurt, Germany, we apply a set of model-agnostic interpretation methods to decompose the rental value drivers and plot their trajectories over time. Living area and building age are the strongest predictors of rent, followed by proximity to CBD and neighborhood amenities. Our approach is able to detect the critical distances to these centers beyond which rents tend to decline more rapidly. Conversely, close proximity to hospitality facilities as well as public transport is associated with rental discounts. Overall, our results suggest that IML methods provide insights into algorithmic decision-making by illustrating the relative importance of hedonic variables and their relationship with rental prices in a dynamic perspective.
Keywords: Interpretable Machine Learning, Microeconomic Hedonic Pricing, Housing Markets, Rental Markets
JEL Classification: D14, G12, R31
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