DP11392 | The Role of Auctions and Negotiation in Housing Prices

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Using Sydney and Melbourne transactions, we show that how properties sell matters for housing price dynamics. Auction prices forecast better and display much less momentum than negotiated prices. This is consistent with the two mechanisms transmitting buyer vs. seller shocks to prices differently and, in light of auction and bargaining theories, suggests the source of momentum is sluggishness in sellersÂ’ valuations. Other explanations, such as differences in precision, slow diffusion of shocks among buyers, or endogenous selection of the sales mechanism, fail to explain our findings. Our estimates also indicate that sellers have at most equal bargaining power in negotiations.