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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2018

Michael J. McCord, Sean MacIntyre, Paul Bidanset, Daniel Lo and Peadar Davis

Air quality, noise and proximity to urban infrastructure can arguably have an important impact on the quality of life. Environmental quality (the price of good health) has…

Abstract

Purpose

Air quality, noise and proximity to urban infrastructure can arguably have an important impact on the quality of life. Environmental quality (the price of good health) has become a central tenet for consumer choice in urban locales when deciding on a residential neighbourhood. Unlike the market for most tangible goods, the market for environmental quality does not yield an observable per unit price effect. As no explicit price exists for a unit of environmental quality, this paper aims to use the housing market to derive its implicit price and test whether these constituent elements of health and well-being are indeed capitalised into property prices and thus implicitly priced in the market place.

Design/methodology/approach

A considerable number of studies have used hedonic pricing models by incorporating spatial effects to assess the impact of air quality, noise and proximity to noise pollutants on property market pricing. This study presents a spatial analysis of air quality and noise pollution and their association with house prices, using 2,501 sale transactions for the period 2013. To assess the impact of the pollutants, three different spatial modelling approaches are used, namely, ordinary least squares using spatial dummies, a geographically weighted regression (GWR) and a spatial lag model (SLM).

Findings

The findings suggest that air quality pollutants have an adverse impact on house prices, which fluctuate across the urban area. The analysis suggests that the noise level does matter, although this varies significantly over the urban setting and varies by source.

Originality/value

Air quality and environmental noise pollution are important concerns for health and well-being. Noise impact seems to depend not only on the noise intensity to which dwellings are exposed but also on the nature of the noise source. This may suggest the presence of other externalities that arouse social aversion. This research presents an original study utilising advanced spatial modelling approaches. The research has value in further understanding the market impact of environmental factors and in providing findings to support local air zone management strategies, noise abatement and management strategies and is of value to the wider urban planning and public health disciplines.

Details

Journal of European Real Estate Research, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-9269

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Peadar Davis, Michael J. McCord, William McCluskey, Erin Montgomery, Martin Haran and John McCord

Buildings contribute significantly to CO2 production. They are also subject to considerable taxation based on value. Analysis shows that while similar attributes…

Abstract

Purpose

Buildings contribute significantly to CO2 production. They are also subject to considerable taxation based on value. Analysis shows that while similar attributes contribute to both value and CO2 production, there is only a loose relationship between the two. If we wish to use taxation to affect policy change (drive energy efficiency behaviour), we are unlikely to achieve this using only the current tax base (value), or by increasing the tax take off this current tax base (unlike extra taxation of cigarettes to discourage smoking, for example). Taxation of buildings on the basis of energy efficiency is hampered by the lack of current evidence of performance. This paper aims to model the now-obligatory (at sale or letting) energy performance certificate (EPC) data to derive an acceptable appraisal model (marked to market, being the EPC scores) and deploys this to the entire population of properties. This provides an alternative tax base with which to model the effects of a tax base switch to energy efficiency and to understand the tax incidence effects of such a policy.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses a multiplicative hedonic approach to model energy efficiency utilising EPC holding properties in a UK jurisdiction [Northern Ireland (NI)] as the sample. This model is then used to estimate discrete energy assessments for each property in the wider population, using attributes held in the domestic rating (property tax) database for NI (700,000+ properties). This produces a robust estimate of the EPC for every property in its current condition and its cost-effective improved condition. This energy assessment based tax base is further used to estimate a new millage rate and property tax bill (green property tax) which is compared against the existing property tax based on value to allow tax incidence changes to be analysed.

Findings

The findings show that such a policy would significantly redistribute the tax burden and would have a variety of expected and some unexpected effects. The results indicate that while assessing the energy performance of houses can be a complex process involving many parameters, much of the explanatory power can be achieved via a relatively small number of input variables, often already held by property tax jurisdictions. This offers the opportunity for useful housing stock modelling – such as the savings possible from power switching. The research also identifies that whilst urban areas display the expected “heat island” effect in terms of energy consumption, urban properties are on average more efficient than suburban/rural properties. This facilitates spatial targeting of policy messages and initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

Analogous with other studies, data deficiencies introduce the risk of omitted variable bias. Modelling of the energy efficiency in the sample is limited to property attributes that are available for the wider population of properties. While this limits the modelling exercise, it is a perennial issue facing mass appraisal worldwide (where knowledge of the transacted sample attributes generally exceeds knowledge of the unsold properties). That said, the research demonstrates the benefits of sharing data and improving knowledge of the housing stock, as taxation databases would be stronger, augmented with EPC-derived property attributes for example.

Originality/value

The EPC lead in time for wide residential coverage is likely to be considerable. The paper contributes to emerging literature and policy debate surrounding the effect, performance measurement and implementation of energy efficiency certification, through a greater understanding of the sectorial and geographical dispersion of energy efficiency. It provides high level research to help guide policy and decision-making, identifying key locales where there is more of a physical problem and locations where there is more to gain in terms of targeting energy improvement and/or encouraging behavioural change. The paper also allows a glimpse of the implications of a change towards a taxation regime based on energy efficiency, which contributes to the debate surrounding the “greening” of property based taxes.

Details

Journal of European Real Estate Research, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-9269

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Article
Publication date: 18 November 2013

John McCord, Michael J. McCord, William McCluskey, Peadar Davis, David McIhatton and Martin Haran

Belfast's “peace walls” exist to physically segregate and provide a measure of security to the communities on the religious divide in Northern Ireland. Whilst they do…

Abstract

Purpose

Belfast's “peace walls” exist to physically segregate and provide a measure of security to the communities on the religious divide in Northern Ireland. Whilst they do ostensibly achieve this aim, it may well be that these structures have the capacity to prevent the restoration of normal community interactions and market processes and may also be providing their benefits at a high price with regard to issues such as house price reduction. Indeed, the effect of these structures on surrounding residential property values remains somewhat of an unknown quantity. This paper therefore measures the effect of proximity to locations with social and political conflicts. The paper aims to quantify and measure the disamenity implications and costs of artificial barriers (peace walls) within the Belfast housing market.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper attempts to measure the disamenity effect of peace walls on house prices, primarily focusing on the effect of distance, calculated using a hedonic pricing specification and spatially referenced data. The data are derived from 3,836 house sales transactions over a one year period in 2011.

Findings

The emerging findings demonstrate that a greater negative pricing effect is evident with proximity to the peace walls, with the exception of the apartment sector. The findings also highlight the complex market pricing structure of Belfast and offer insight as how to best classify submarkets.

Practical implications

The results of the research are of particular interest to property valuers and social policy makers in regions with contested space.

Originality/value

Tactile barriers scar the urban terrain, formalise ethno-segregation across Belfast and have implications for spatial planning in the urban environment and housing studies and policy. Such an externality may have a pervasive and endogenous effect on house prices and the identification of submarkets yet there is implicit acceptance of peace lines as de facto standard and a dearth of empirical evidence relating to direction and magnitude of the location-specific effects of peace walls on house prices in Belfast. This paper is arguably the first to empirically examine the location-specific effects of peace walls on property value across the Belfast area.

Details

Journal of European Real Estate Research, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-9269

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2021

Daniel Lo, Michael James McCord, John McCord, Peadar Thomas Davis and Martin Haran

The price-to-rent ratio is often regarded as an important indicator for measuring housing market imbalance and inefficiency. A central question is the extent to which…

Abstract

Purpose

The price-to-rent ratio is often regarded as an important indicator for measuring housing market imbalance and inefficiency. A central question is the extent to which house prices and rents form part of the same market and thus whether they respond similarly to parallel stimulus. If they are close proxies dynamically, then this provides valuable market intelligence, particularly where causal relationships are evident. Therefore, this paper aims to examine the relationship between market and rental pricing to uncover the price switching dynamics of residential real estate property types and whether the deviation between market rents and prices are integrated over both the long- and short-term.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses cointegration, Wald exogeneity tests and Granger causality models to determine the existence, if any, of cointegration and lead-lag relationships between prices and rents within the Belfast property market, as well as the price-to-rent ratios amongst its five main property sub-markets over the time period M4, 2014 to M12 2018.

Findings

The findings provide some novel insights in relation to the pricing dynamics within Belfast. Housing and rental prices are cointegrated suggesting that they tend to move in tandem in the long run. It is further evident that in the short-run, the price series Granger-causes that of rents inferring that sales price information unidirectionally diffuse to the rental market. Further, the findings on price-to-rent ratios reveal that the detached sector appears to Granger-cause those of other property types except apartments in both the short- and long-term, suggesting possible spill-over of pricing signals from the top-end to the lower strata of the market.

Originality/value

The importance of understanding the relationship between house prices and rental market performance has gathered momentum. Although the house price-rent ratio is widely used as an indicator of over and undervaluation in the housing market, surprisingly little is known about the theoretical relationship between the price-rent ratio across property types and their respective inter-relationships.

Details

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8270

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Daniel Lo, Nan Liu, Michael James McCord and Martin Haran

Information transparency is crucially important in price setting in real estate, particularly when information asymmetry is concerned. This paper aims to examine how a…

Abstract

Purpose

Information transparency is crucially important in price setting in real estate, particularly when information asymmetry is concerned. This paper aims to examine how a change in government policy in relation to information disclosure and transparency impacts residential real estate price discovery. Specially, this paper investigates how real estate traders determined asking prices in the context of the Scottish housing market before and after the implementation of the Home Report, which aimed to prevent artificially low asking prices.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses spatial lag hedonic pricing models to empirically observe how residential asking prices are determined by property sellers in response to a change in government policy that is designed to enhance market transparency. It uses over 79,000 transaction data of the Aberdeen residential market for the period of Q2 1998 to Q2 2013 to test the models.

Findings

The empirical findings provide some novel insights in relation to the price determination within the residential market in Scotland. The spatial lag models suggest that spatial autocorrelation in property prices has increased since the Home Report came into effect, indicating that property sellers have become more prone to infer asking prices based on prior sales of dwellings in close vicinity. The once-common practice of setting artificially low asking prices seems to have dwindled to a certain extent statistically.

Originality/value

The importance of understanding the relationship between information transparency and property price determination has gathered momentum over the past decade. Although spatial hedonic techniques have been extensively used to study the impact of various property- and neighbourhood-specific attributes on residential real estate market in general, surprisingly little is known about the empirical relationship between spatial autocorrelation in real estate prices and information transparency.

Details

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8270

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2020

Michael McCord, Martin Haran, Peadar Davis and John McCord

A number of studies have investigated the relationship between energy performance certificates (EPCs) and house prices. A majority of studies have tended to model energy…

Abstract

Purpose

A number of studies have investigated the relationship between energy performance certificates (EPCs) and house prices. A majority of studies have tended to model energy performance pricing effects within a traditional hedonic conditional mean estimate model. There has been limited analysis that has accounted for the relationship between EPCs and the effects across the pricing distribution. Moreover, there has been limited research examining the “standard cost improvements EPC score”, or “potential score”. Therefore, this paper aims to quantify and measure the dynamic effects of EPCs on house prices across the price spectrum and account for standardised cost-effective retrofit improvements.

Design/methodology/approach

Existing EPC studies produce one coefficient for the entirety of the pricing distribution, culminating in a single marginal implicit price effect. The approach within this study applies a quantile regression approach to empirically estimate how quantiles of house prices respond differently to unitary changes in the proximal effects of EPCs and structural property characteristics across the conditional distribution of house prices. Using a data set of 1,476 achieved transaction prices, the quantile regression models apply both assessed EPC score and bands and further examine the potential EPC rating for improved energy performance based on an average energy cost improvement.

Findings

The findings show that EPCs are valued differently across the quantiles and that conditional quantiles are asymmetrical. Only property prices in the upper quantiles of the price distribution show significant capitalisation effects with energy performance, and only properties with higher EPC scores display positive significant effects at the higher end of the price distribution. There are also brown discount effects evident for lower-rated properties within F- and G-rated EPC properties at the higher end of the pricing distribution. Moreover, the potential energy efficiency rating (score) also shows increased effects with sales prices and appears to minimise any brown discount effects. The findings imply that energy performance is a complex feature that is not easily “averaged” for valuation effect purposes.

Originality/value

While numerous studies have investigated the pricing effects of EPCs, they have tended to provide a single estimate to determine the relationship with price. This paper extends the traditional analytical insights beyond the conditional mean estimate by examining the quantiles of the relationship between EPCs and house prices to enhance the understanding of this esoteric and complex issue. In addition, this research applies the assessed energy efficiency potential to establish whether effective cost improvements enhance the relationship with sales price and capitalisation effects.

Details

Journal of European Real Estate Research , vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-9269

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2018

Michael James McCord, Peadar Thomas Davis, Paul Bidanset, William McCluskey, John McCord, Martin Haran and Sean MacIntyre

Understanding the key locational and neighbourhood determinants and their accessibility is a topic of great interest to policymakers, planners and property valuers. In…

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding the key locational and neighbourhood determinants and their accessibility is a topic of great interest to policymakers, planners and property valuers. In Northern Ireland, the high level of market segregation means that it is problematic to understand the nature of the relationship between house prices and the accessibility to services and prominent neighbourhood landmarks and amenities. Therefore, this paper aims to quantify and measure the (dis)amenity effects on house pricing levels within particular geographic housing sub-markets.

Design/methodology/approach

Most hedonic models are estimated using regression techniques which produce one coefficient for the entirety of the pricing distribution, culminating in a single marginal implicit price. This paper uses a quantile regression (QR) approach that provides a “more complete” depiction of the marginal impacts for different quantiles of the price distribution using sales data obtained from 3,780 house sales transactions within the Belfast Housing market over 2014.

Findings

The findings emerging from this research demonstrate that housing and market characteristics are valued differently across the quantile values and that conditional quantiles are asymmetrical. Pertinently, the findings demonstrate that ordinary least squares (OLS) coefficient estimates have a tendency to over or under specify the marginal mean conditional pricing effects because of their inability to adequately capture and comprehend the complex spatial relationships which exist across the pricing distribution.

Originality value

Numerous studies have used OLS regression to measure the impact of key housing market externalities on house prices, providing a single estimate. This paper uses a QR approach to examine the impact of local amenities on house prices across the house price distribution.

Details

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8270

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2019

Michael James McCord, John McCord, Peadar Thomas Davis, Martin Haran and Paul Bidanset

Numerous geo-statistical methods have been developed to analyse the spatial dimension and composition of house prices. Despite these advances, spatial filtering remains an…

Abstract

Purpose

Numerous geo-statistical methods have been developed to analyse the spatial dimension and composition of house prices. Despite these advances, spatial filtering remains an under-researched approach within house price studies. This paper aims to examine the spatial distribution of house prices using an eigenvector spatial filtering (ESF) procedure, to analyse the local variation and spatial heterogeneity.

Design/methodology/approach

Using 2,664 sale transactions over the one year period Q3 2017 to Q3 2018, an eigenvector spatial filtering approach is applied to evaluate spatial patterns within the Belfast housing market. This method consists of using geographical coordinates to specify eigenvectors across geographic distance to determine a set of spatial filters. These convey spatial structures representative of different spatial scales and units. The filters are incorporated as predictors into regression analyses to alleviate spatial autocorrelation. This approach is intuitive, given that detection of autocorrelation in specific filters and within the regression residuals can be markers for exclusion or inclusion criteria.

Findings

The findings show both robust and effective estimator consistency and limited spatial dependency – culminating in accurately specified hedonic pricing models. The findings show that the spatial component alone explains 14.6 per cent of the variation in property value, whereas 77.6 per cent of the variation could be attributed to an interaction between the structural characteristics and the local market geography expressed by the filters. This methodological step reduced short-scale spatial dependency and residual autocorrelation resulting in increased model stability and reduced misspecification error.

Originality/value

Eigenvector-based spatial filtering is a less known but suitable statistical protocol that can be used to analyse house price patterns taking into account spatial autocorrelation at varying (different) spatial scales. This approach arguably provides a more insightful analysis of house prices by removing spatial autocorrelation both objectively and subjectively to produce reliable, yet understandable, regression models, which do not suffer from traditional challenges of serial dependence or spatial mis-specification. This approach offers property researchers and policymakers an intuitive but comprehensible approach for producing accurate price estimation models, which can be readily interpreted.

Details

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8270

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Article
Publication date: 6 August 2019

Paul Bidanset, Michael McCord, Peadar Davis and Mark Sunderman

The purpose of this study is to enhance the estimation of vertical and horizontal inequity within property valuation. Property taxation is a crucial source of finance for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to enhance the estimation of vertical and horizontal inequity within property valuation. Property taxation is a crucial source of finance for local government around the world – based on a presumptive tax base underpinned by estimates of property value, inaccurate real estate valuations used for such ad valorem or value-based property tax calculations potentially lead to a variety of costs, both financial and other, for tax payers and governments alike. More common are increased costs in time, staff and, in some cases, legal fees. Some governments are even bound by acceptability thresholds to promote fairness, equitability and overall government accountability with respect to valuation.

Design/methodology/approach

There exist a number of vertical inequity measurements that have undergone academic testing and scrutiny within the property tax industry since the 1970s. While these approaches have proved successful in detecting horizontal and vertical inequity, one recurring disadvantage pertains to measurement error/omitted variable bias, stemming largely from a failure to accurately account for location. A natural progression within property tax research is the application of a more spatially local weighted modelling approach to examine vertical and horizontal inequity. This research, therefore, specifies a geographically weighted regression (GWR) methodology to detect and measure vertical inequity in property valuations.

Findings

The findings show the efficacy of using more applied spatial approaches for vertical tax estimation and indeed the limitations of employing conditional mean estimates coupled with delineated boundaries for assessing property tax inequity. The GWR model findings highlight the more fluctuating nature of vertical inequity across the Belfast market for the apartment sector both in a progressive and regressive sense and at different magnitudes. Moreover, the results reveal spatial clustering in the effects and are indicative of systematic inequities related to location inferring that spatial (horizontal) tax inequities are not random. The findings further show increased GWR model predictability overall.

Originality/value

This research adds to the existing literature base for evaluating both vertical and horizontal inequity in value-based property taxation at the intra-neighbourhood level. This is accomplished by modifying the Birch–Sunderman approach by transforming the traditional OLS model architecture to a GWR model, thereby allowing coefficient estimates of inequity to vary not only across a jurisdiction, but also at a more local level, while incorporating property characteristic variables. This arguably allows assessors to identify specific geographical areas of concern, saving them money, time and resources on identifying, addressing and correcting for inequity.

Details

Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction , vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-4387

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2020

Michael McCord, Peadar Davis, John McCord, Martin Haran and Karen Davison

The role of energy efficiency and particularly energy performance certificates (EPCs) has emerged as a topical and important aspect of real estate markets. Various studies…

Abstract

Purpose

The role of energy efficiency and particularly energy performance certificates (EPCs) has emerged as a topical and important aspect of real estate markets. Various studies have been carried out investigating the perceived capitalisation effects of energy efficiency on property prices. There, however, remains divergence of opinion whether the capitalisation effect is truly in existence with extant research showing differing magnitudes of effects, if any. To date, no study (that the authors are aware of) has investigated the nature of the transition between EPC bands and price effects. The purpose of this study is to add to the research of the energy efficiency of housing to examine the nature of the likelihood of property characteristics being associated with higher EPC scores and value.

Design/methodology/approach

This research undertakes a suite of methodological tests to investigate the more latent relationships between EPC bands and pricing behaviour using 3,797 achieved sales prices within the Belfast housing market. Binary logit regression models are specified in conjunction with a Polytomous Universal Model to examine the likelihood of EPC bands falling within a particular property type and the likelihood of any pricing effects.

Findings

The findings show the differing property types to comprise very distinct and complex relationships in terms of price and EPC banding. The binary logit model estimations for both terrace properties and apartments reveal an increased likelihood to obtain higher EPC scores, with the semi-detached sector displaying a “mixed effect” with detached property revealing decreased probability of having superior energy performance and decreased likelihood of having poorer energy performance. The ordinal model estimations indicate that sales price comprises no relationship with energy performance, inferring that there is no increased probability of an increase in sales price with higher EPC rating.

Originality/value

This research offers new insights and focus on achieving a better understanding of the nexus between energy performance and property characteristics using alternative modelling approaches. This provides more exploratory insights into the complex relationships and offers awareness for policy discourse in terms of targeting properties which will tend to be poorer in energy efficiency.

Details

Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction , vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-4387

Keywords

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