The efficiency of the Tokyo housing market

Ito, Takatoshi; Hirono, Keiko N.

We take advantage of annual micro data sets which we have compiled from individual listings in the widely-circulated real estate advertisement magazine. A data set compiled from the "properties for investment" section lists both asking (purchase) prices and rents for the same property. With this data, the price-rent ratio is directly observable and expected capital gains before tax and commissions are found to be just less than 90 percent in ten years. The "repeatedly-listed properties for investment" data set, a subset of the first data set, contains only those units in the same buildings after a one-year interval. In this data set, price, rent, and ex post capital gains are all observable. They are used to show that ex post returns on housing investment in the last four years were actually rather modest. The data set for "housing for purchase" and the data set for "housing for rent" data sections were separately used for hedonic regressions, from which we constructed the hedonic price index and the hedonic rent index. Those regressions show the effects of various determinants for housing prices and rents. The time (year) dummy variables in the hedonic regressions give that estimate of increases in prices and rents in the last eleven years in Tokyo. According to these estimates, prices increased 85 to 90 percent over the 1981-92 period, while rents increased about 65 percent during the same period. The price-(annual) rent ratio rents appears to have fluctuated around a constant ratio between 17 and 32. Finally, the weak-form efficiency of excess returns on housing is rejected. However, the conclusion is tentative considering the small sample of our data.

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Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 73
Published Here
February 8, 2011