Estimating Transaction-Based Price Indices of Local Commercial Real Estate Markets Using Public Assessment Data
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This study examines the feasibility of constructing reliable commercial property price indices using property tax records. We employ the Clapp and Giacotto (Journal of American Statistical Association, 87(418), 300–306, 1992) assessed-value method to estimate price indices for commercial properties in Florida. The estimated Florida commercial property price index is compared to the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) and to the transaction-based index (TBI) produced at MIT. Our results are promising, suggesting that this widely-available data source can be used to produce commercial property price indices for a variety of precise market locations and specific investor segments. A secondary but interesting objective of this paper is to use our rich and comprehensive database to examine the price performance of two specific subsets of properties in more detail. First, we narrow our range to focus on just the office sector for Florida. We compare price movements for the Florida office sector with the comparable CPPI. Estimates produce very similar price movements providing support to both methods. Second, we contrast the price performance of higher- and lower-valued properties and reject the hypothesis that their periodic price index levels are equal. The mean price changes of Florida commercial properties assessed at $2.5 million and above are observed to be slightly higher than for properties assessed below $2.5 million, although not statistically different. In particular, higher-valued properties had higher mean price changes relative to lower-valued properties during periods of economic expansion. This economic difference represents an important contribution toward beginning to understand the relative performance of smaller and investment-grade commercial properties.
KeywordsCommercial property prices Repeat-sales indices Assessed-value indices
We are grateful for the comments from participants at the 2010 MNM Symposium in Boston, MA. In particular, we thank John Clapp and Jeffrey Fisher for their insights, and David Geltner, our MNM symposium discussant, for his detailed suggestions and estimates of the Florida-specific CPPI used in this paper. In addition, we acknowledge the Real Estate Research Institute and the Kislak Family Fund for their support of this work.
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