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Prices, Rents and Rational Speculative Bubbles in the Sydney Housing Market

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We examine whether asset pricing theory can explain residential property prices. Using quarterly data for Local Government Areas in Sydney from 1991 to 2006, we find little evidence that variations in price : rent ratios anticipate future real rent growth. Instead changes in price : rent ratios apparently reflect changing expectations about future discount factors. Some important geographical differences in the behaviour of property prices across metropolitan Sydney are identified. A significant proportion of the variation in property prices in outer western regions of Sydney is not explained by either rents or discount factors; pointing to a possible role for a speculative bubble.
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Keywords: G12; R31

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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