This study investigates how information asymmetry affects the rent and vacancy rate adjust in response to external shocks using empirical data from the Hong Kong office market. We show that information asymmetry about the quality of real estate asset will lead to slower rent adjustments in response to external shocks. Information asymmetry makes it more difficult for the landlord and prospective tenant to agree on a new equilibrium rent, which also leads to temporary deviation of the vacancy rate form the natural vacancy rate. Compared to a low-end office unit, information asymmetry is less serious for a high-end office unit since a larger proportion of its rental value is derived from its location attributes which are easily observable by both the landlord and prospective tenant. One empirical implication is that high-end office rents adjust faster when there is a short-term disequilibrium. The other side of the coin is that the vacancy rates of high-end offices are less responsive to external shocks assuming that the natural vacancy rates are relatively stable over time. Empirical data from the Hong Kong office sub-markets are consistent with these implications.
The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 7, 2015
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