Research Archive

Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market

David Genesove, Christopher Mayer

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Real Estate


Data from downtown Boston in the 1990s show that loss aversion determines seller behavior in the housing market. Condominium owners subject to nominal losses 1) set higher asking prices of 25-35 percent of the difference between the property's expected selling price and their original purchase price; 2) attain higher selling prices of 3-18 percent of that difference; and 3) exhibit a much lower sale hazard than other investors, but hold for both. These findings suggest that sellers are averse to realizing (nominal) losses and help explain the positive price-volume correlation in real estate markets.
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Genesove, David, and Christopher Mayer. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market." Quarterly Journal of Economics 116, no. 4 (November 2001): 1233-60.

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