HEDONIC PRICE INDEXES FOR RESIDENTIAL HOUSING: A SURVEY, EVALUATION AND TAXONOMY

Authors


  • This is a substantially revised version of a report I prepared for the Statistics Directorate at the OECD. The original report is available as OECD Statistics Working Paper No. 36-2011/1.

Abstract

Every house is different. It is important that house price indexes take account of these quality differences. Hedonic methods which express house prices as a function of a vector of characteristics (such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, land area and location) are particularly useful for this purpose. I consider here some developments in the hedonic methodology, as it is applied in a housing context, that have occurred in the last three decades. A number of hedonic house price indexes are now available. However, it is often difficult to see how these indexes relate to each other. For this reason I attempt to impose some structure on the literature by developing a taxonomy of hedonic indexes, and then show how existing indexes fit into this taxonomy. Also discussed are some promising areas for future research in the hedonic field. In particular, greater use needs to be made of spatial econometric and nonparametric methods to exploit the increased availability of geospatial data. The main criticisms of the hedonic approach are evaluated and compared with those of the repeat-sales and stratified median methods. The overall conclusion is that the advantages of the hedonic approach outweigh its disadvantages.

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