Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some stuff from Weimer School meetings worth thinking about.

1) Albert Saiz showed how rent is endogenous with respect to interest rates.  At the urban fringe, where land has no value, rent is equal to construction cost multiplied by the interest rate.  This pins down urban rents.  When interest rates fall, so do rents at the fringe.  Nevertheless, land values rise, because people want larger structures (because of falling rent), and so they demand more land.  Consequently, rent-to-value ratios fall as interest rates fall.

2) Ingrid Ellen showed that REO properties produce crime.  The interesting part--they induce violent crime, rather than property crime.  The data set she put together, which used block faces, instead of census blocks, was awesome.

3) Len Lin may have solved why real estate appears to have better Sharpe Ratios than stocks.  If they were really better, one could arbitrage between real estate and stocks.  But because real estate is illiquid--it takes a long time to sell it--one cannot arbitrage it.  When one adjusts formally for illiquidity, the Sharpe Ratio of real estate is the same as stocks.

4) Stephanie Yates Rauterkus presented some promising work that suggested that "walkability" near CBDs enhances value, but elsewhere might not.

It was a really good few days.  I learned a lot of other stuff too.