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Housing Returns in Big and Small Cities
Houses are the largest asset for most households in the United States, as is the case in many other countries as well. Within countries, there is substantial regional variation in house prices—compare real estate values in Manhattan, New York City, with those in Manhattan, Kansas, for example. But what about returns on investment? Are long-run returns on real estate investment—the sum of price appreciation and rental income flows—higher in superstar cities like New York than in the rest of the country? In this blog post, we present new and potentially surprising insights from research ...
We study long-term returns on residential real estate in twenty-seven “superstar” cities in fifteen countries over 150 years. We find that total returns in superstar cities are close to 100 basis points lower per year than in the rest of the country. House prices tend to grow faster in the superstars, but rent returns are substantially greater outside the big agglomerations, resulting in higher long-run total returns. The excess returns outside the superstars can be rationalized as a compensation for risk, especially for higher co-variance with income growth and lower liquidity. Superstar ...