The Effects of Charm Listing Prices on House Transaction Prices

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Abstract

As is the case for many different goods and services, it is common practice in many real estate markets for sellers to offer properties for sale at listing prices just below some round number price (e.g., $99,900 instead of $100,000). The academic marketing literature refers to this practice as “charm” pricing and suggests that this strategy is an attempt by sellers to take advantage of buyers' cognitive processes in which charm prices affect buyers' perceptions about the seller or the item being offered for sale. Although numerous papers in the housing economics literature have addressed the impact of the magnitude of listing price on observed house transaction prices, no prior published study has considered the impact of the design of listing prices in housing markets. This paper presents an empirical investigation of the effects of charm pricing on house transaction prices using sample data. The results provide some evidence that houses listed at certain charm prices sell for significantly greater transaction prices than those listed at round number prices.

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