Posts by Year

2024

Continuous learning

less than 1 minute read

As I sat in the dentist’s chair, waiting for the local anesthetic to kick in, I finally asked the dentist something I had wondered about a few times before: “How do you keep up with new techniques and stay on top of your field?” I inquired, half-expecting a mention of professional courses or medical journals. His response was immediate and enthusiastic: “YouTube!” And that was reassuring.

Blog post: Predictable REIT returns

less than 1 minute read

The Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance (CERF) has published a blog post on Kahshin Leow’s and my research on predictable REIT returns: https://www.cerf.cam.ac.uk/blog/blog-2024

Upcoming talks: Research seminars in Reading and London

less than 1 minute read

This Wednesday (March 20) will be busy: First, I’ll head to the University of Reading for a research seminar (12–1 pm). My paper shows how REIT return predictability increases when machine learning methods are allowed to shine. In the evening (6:15—7:15 pm), I will take part in a seminar on generative AI organised by the Society of Property Researchers in London. Pretty excited to share my work and to meet new and old friends.

Spring

less than 1 minute read

Spring arrived early this year. The apricot is flowering, to the delight of big bumble bees. Let’s hope there will be no more frosty spells.

Agreed

less than 1 minute read

“In [Trump’s] world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; […] and square footage subjective. That is a fantasy world, not the real world.” A. Engoron

Easy New Year’s Resolutions

less than 1 minute read

Still looking for an easy new year’s resolution? Something that won’t be difficult to do but might make you feel better every time you navigate the Internet?

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2023

Run Large Language Models locally

3 minute read

Want to run a large language model (LLM) on your computer? Llamafile makes hosting a LLM chatbot locally as simple as downloading a single file and starting it. That’s all. It took me less than a minute to arrive at my first home-spun text. If you wanted to use Large Language Models (LLM) without sharing all prompts and other data with Big Tech, or integrate a chatbot into a system that you control fully, or simply preferred open-source solutions wherever possible, then llamafile is worth a try. CONTINUE READING …

True Craftsmanship

less than 1 minute read

I spotted this exceptionally well-made gate not far from home. The oak wood has been hewn, not sawn, giving strength and elegant curves. Connections made in wood, just the hinges are metal. This must have been irrationally expensive to build. Beautiful.

Green Buildings of Silver Street

less than 1 minute read

Not ideal from a building maintenance point of view… but beautiful. A gutter has been leaking for years and created a truly ‘green’ building on Silver Street. Click for video.

Tulip mania

less than 1 minute read

An update from the garden: Tulips tulips tulips

Professor!

less than 1 minute read

Personal news: I have been elected Grosvenor Professor of Real Estate Finance at the University of Cambridge

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2022

New Working Paper: “Growth and Predictability of Urban Housing Rents”

less than 1 minute read

This paper studies urban rental prices for half a millennium (1500–2020) and seven cities: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, London, and Paris. Based on a dataset of 436,000 rental cash flow observations, we build continuous annual indices of housing rents, which we employ to study the long-term developments in rental cash flows, as well as their predictability. We find that real rent growth has been limited, but with large differences across cities: average annual growth rates range between 0.12 percent for the Belgian cities to 0.30 percent for Paris. At the market level, we show that sluggish supply adjustment implies that past population growth negatively predicts current rental growth. At the individual asset level, we find that past excess rental growth rates are predictive of future rent revisions, and that increasing steepness of the term structure of contract rents is predictive for future rent levels.

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2021

New Publication: The Total Return To Real Estate

1 minute read

New research accepted for publication at the Review of Financial Studies (RFS) suggests that returns to real estate are solid but not exceptional: No sign of a housing risk premium puzzle.

Nothing but hot air…

less than 1 minute read

My previous website went down in flames (or rather: is now hosted in a black cloud).

Machine Learning, Architectural Styles and Property Values

less than 1 minute read

New research accepted for publication at the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics: This paper couples a traditional hedonic model with architectural style classifications from human experts and machine learning (ML) enabled classifiers to estimate sales price premia over architectural styles, both at the building and the neighborhood-level.

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2014

Valuable Words: The Price Dynamics of Internet Domain Names

less than 1 minute read

This article estimates the first constant quality price index for Internet domain names. The suggested index provides a benchmark for domain name traders and investors looking for information on price trends, historical returns, and the fundamental risk of Internet domain names.

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