Thomas G. Thibodeau

Contact

tom.thibodeau@colorado.edu
303.735.4021
Koelbel S417

Curriculum Vitae

Biography

Tom is currently the Academic Director of the University of Colorado’s Real Estate Center (CUREC). Tom is responsible for: (1) overseeing the Leeds School of Business real estate curriculum at both the graduate and undergraduate levels; (2) staffing real estate courses with qualified, committed research faculty and instructors; (3) directing the Center’s academic research; (4) facilitating and contributing to real estate industry oriented research; and (5) continuing to develop relationships with members of the real estate industry.

Between 2000 and 2005, Tom was the managing editor of Real Estate Economics. This academic journal publishes scholarly research on current and emerging real estate issues. The publication facilitates communication among academic researchers and industry professionals and seeks to improve real estate analysis. Tom also serves on the editorial board of Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. He is a Past President of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) and a Fellow of the Homer Hoyt Advanced Studies Institute. In 2008, AREUEA awarded Tom the George Bloom Award for “his outstanding contributions to the field of real estate.” In October 2009, the NAIOP Research Foundation Governors appointed Tom a NAIOP Distinguished Fellow.

Tom’s research has been published in numerous nationally recognized refereed journals including Real Estate Economics (formerly Journal of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association or AREUEA Journal), Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Land Economics, Journal of Housing Research, Journal of Real Estate Research, Housing Policy Debate, Real Estate Review, Real Estate Finance and Property Tax Journal. According to Harzing’s Publish or Perish, Tom’s academic research has accumulated over 2,900 citations in the academic literature (and 697 citations according to the ISI Web of Knowledge). He has nine publications that have each accumulated 100 or more citations (according to Harzing’s Publish or Perish). He has the most cited paper ever published in Journal of Housing Economics: “Housing Market Segmentation,” with Allen Goodman, 1998 (311 citations according to Harzing; 108 citations according to ISI); the second most cited paper ever published in Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics: “Analysis of Spatial Autocorrelation in House Prices,” with S. Basu, 1998 (378 citations according to Harzing; 104 according to ISI); and one paper in the top 20 most cited papers ever published in Real Estate Economics: “Real Estate Investment Funds: Performance and Portfolio Considerations,” with W.B. Brueggeman and A.H. Chen, 1984 (with 221 citations according to Harzing; 50 according to ISI). “Evolution of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association,” (by P.H. Hendershott, T.G. Thibodeau and H.C. Smith) Real Estate Economics (REE), 37(4):559-599 recognized Tom as one of the most published REE authors during the 1973-2008 period.

Tom is currently teaching Real Estate Finance and Investments and Real Estate Economics in the MBA Program at Leeds. He also teaches Real Estate Finance and Investments to undergraduates at Leeds. He has taught courses in Real Estate Fundamentals, Real Estate Markets and Valuation, Real Estate Development, Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, Managerial Economics and Macroeconomics. In the spring of 2009, Tom began teaching an ARGUS-DCF Certification course for University of Colorado (CU) real estate students. ARGUS-DCF is an income property investment/valuation software package that is very popular in the real estate industry. Tom has had over 125 students enrolled in seven separate ARGUS-DCF Certification classes (a mix of CU undergraduates, CU MBA students, recent graduates and members of the CUREC).

Tom serves on the Technical Advisor Board for Zillow.com. In addition, he has consulted for the Rocky Mountain Institute, Boulder Tomorrow, the Boulder Area Realtors, the City of Arvada, Colorado, Converium Reinsurance, AIMCO, Criterion Economics, L.L.C., the Town of Greenwich, CT, the Greenwich CT Roundhill Homeowners Association, Fidelity National Information Solutions, International Data Management, Inc., Zurich Reinsurance, Fannie Mae, The Urban Institute, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Government Accounting Office.

Honors

  • President of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (2001)
  • Managing editor, Real Estate Economics (2000-2006)
  • Golden Key Teaching Award (Fall 2000)
  • Fellow, Homer Hoyt Advanced Studies Institute (1998-present)
  • Visiting Scholar, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (1999)

Publications

Financing Residential Development with Special Districts

Authors: Stephen Billings and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Forthcoming

Publication: Real Estate Economics

This paper empirically examines the extent to which the property tax liability created by financing residential infrastructure using special district bonds is capitalized in house prices. We compare house prices for single-family detached homes built within development districts to similar properties located outside development districts. Our hedonic specification includes the usual housing characteristics and controls for the influence of spatial attributes using Census Block Group 'neighborhood' fixed effects. The preferred empirical specification restricts the data to neighborhoods that have numerous sales of recently constructed single-family detached homes located both within and outside development districts. The empirical results indicate that house prices for homes located within development districts are lower than house prices for similar homes located outside of development districts, but the amount of property tax capitalization is significantly less than full. Results depend on our Generalized Methods of Moments estimator, which instruments property tax rates using the characteristics of development districts. We identify valid instruments by restricting transactions to properties located in rapidly growing suburban developments.

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Risk Segmentation of American Homes: Evidence from Denver

Authors: Liang Peng and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Forthcoming

Publication: Real Estate Economics

This paper empirically examines the segmentation of house price risk across 99 zip-code delineated neighborhoods in metropolitan Denver. The house price risk in each neighborhood is measured with the temporal variation of quarterly appreciation rates of the neighborhood house price index over the 2002 to 2007 period. Cross sectional regressions of neighborhood house price risk on the median household income and the percentage of population in poverty from the 2000 census data for the same neighborhood provide strong evidence that the house price risk is significantly higher in low-income/poor neighborhoods. Sub-period analyses further indicate that the risk segmentation exists in both a booming period (pre 2005:2) and a busting period (post 2005:3). The results indicate that homeownership can be a much riskier investment for low-income/poor households

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Interest Rate and Investment under Uncertainty: Evidence from Commercial Real Estate Capital Improvements

Authors: Liang Peng and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Working Paper

This paper empirically analyzes the non-monotonic influence that interest rate changes have on irreversible investment in income producing properties. Using the complete history of quarterly capital improvements for 1,416 commercial properties over the 1978 to 2009 period, we find strong evidence of the non-monotonic effect for apartment, office, and retail properties, but not for industrial properties. For the first three property types, a decrease in the Treasury yield dramatically increases capital improvements when property values are high, but has a weak or negative effect when property values are low. This result has important implications for monetary and fiscal policies.

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Intrametropolitan Decentralization: Is Government Structure Capitalized in Residential Property Values?

Authors: Stephen Billings and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Published Article

Publication: Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics (2011) 42: 416-450

This paper examines the influence that the intrametropolitan growth in special districts has on residential property values. Our empirical approach tests whether the benefits of decentralizing local public good providers increases, decreases or leaves residential property appreciation rates unchanged. Past research in this area has been limited by the lack of variation in government structure within a region and by the self-selection of areas that decentralize governments. This research overcomes these limitations by 1) comparing appreciation rates for single-family homes that were located in areas that added local governments to appreciation rates for properties that were not; and 2) employing an estimation technique that border matches repeat sales to control for the self-selection of government structure. Overall, empirical results indicate that institutional decentralization has no influence on single-family property appreciation rates. It makes no dierence whether the new government is the 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th new jurisdiction-the new government does not influence appreciation rates. Residential property values for homes located in jurisdictions that added security special districts experienced rates of appreciation that were lower than otherwise comparable properties. Recreation, fire, water, sewer and other special districts had no measurable influence on appreciation rates. Empirical results also indicate that more overlap among local governments reduces appreciation rates. New governments created in areas whose residents have greater income heterogeneity increase appreciation rates. The distance separating the new government from existing governments, the land area of the new government and the creation of multiple new governments have no influence on appreciation rates. Finally, these results depend on the border matching repeat sales estimation technique employed here.

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Government Interference and the Efficiency of the Land Market in China

Authors: Liang Peng and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Forthcoming

Publication: Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics

Municipal governments in China established direct control of the supply of urban land in August 2004. This paper examines whether this government action mitigates the efficiency of the residential land market. Using a unique data set of detailed land and residential community transactions with manually collected location information for residential land lots in seven Chinese cities, this paper analyzes the relationship between the land lease prices and residential property prices from the first quarter of 2001 to the fourth quarter of 2007. Results indicate that property prices determined land prices both before and after 2004:3, but the effect was significantly weaker after 2004:3. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the market for residential land became less efficient after municipal governments gained direct control of the land supply.

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Evolution of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association

Authors: Patric H. Hendershott, Halbert C. Smith and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Published Article

Publication: Real Estate Economics

(2009) 37(4):559-598

This paper summarizes the 45-year history of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA). It describes how AREUEA was created in the mid-1960s by a few academics interested in promoting real estate research. It tracks the Association's growth into a highly respected international association of real estate academics and researchers employed by industry and governments. The paper also examines the activities of its members: officers elected, awards presented, conferences organized and scholars' contributions to its main academic publication—Real Estate Economics. The article identifies the most prolific contributors to the Journal (located both in the US and internationally) and the impact that the Journal's publications have had on real estate research. Finally, we describe how real estate research interests have changed over time.

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Where Are The Speculative Bubbles in US House Prices?

Authors: Allen C. Goodman and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Published Article

Publication: Journal of Housing Economics (2008) 17(2): 117-137

In the first half of this decade, US house prices experienced significant real rates of appreciation. The dramatic increase in house prices led some economists to conclude that there was a speculative bubble in the US housing market. This paper explores how much of the recent appreciation in US house prices was attributable to the fundamental economic determinants of house prices. On the demand side, we note that the rate of homeownership in the US increased from 66.8% in 1999 to 69% in the fourth quarter of 2005 1 . Each percentage point increase in the homeownership rate increases the demand for owner-occupied housing by about one million units. On the supply side, land prices and housing construction costs increased substantially in real terms over this period. The national average increase in house prices conceals significant spatial variation in appreciation rates. According to OFHEO, house prices in California cities increased by more than fifteen percent per year during this period while house prices in Texas cities increased four percent per year. The increase in aggregate housing demand had different effects on metropolitan area house prices because housing market supply elasticities vary spatially. We estimate housing supply elasticities for 133 metropolitan areas and conclude that although areas on the East Coast and in California had large observed price increases, they owe much of their house price increases to inelastic supplies of owneroccupied housing.

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Beijing’s Land Use Reforms

Authors: Wenbin Li, Thomas G. Thibodeau, and Ying Xaio

Status: Working Paper

During the 2002-2004 period, the Beijing government's procedures for transferring land use rights changed twice in economically significant ways. We examine the effect that these reforms have had on local house prices using a hedonic house price equation and transaction data for newly constructed homes over the 1998-2006 period. We employ five alternative house price specifications to control for spatial variation in Beijing house prices. We observe significant increases in house prices after the August 31, 2004 reform became effective.

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The Spatial Proximity of Metropolitan Area Housing Submarkets

Authors: Allen C. Goodman and Thomas G. Thibodeau

Status: Published Article

Publication: Real Estate Economics (2007) 35(2): 209-232

An important question related to housing submarket construction is whether geographic areas must be spatially adjacent in order to be considered the same submarket. Housing consumers do not necessarily limit their search to spatially concentrated areas and may search similarly priced neighborhoods located throughout a metropolitan area when making housing consumption decisions. This paper examines two alternative procedures for delineating submarkets: one that combines adjacent census block groups into areas with enough transactions to estimate the parameters of a hedonic house price equation; and a second that permits spatial discontinuities in submarkets. The criterion used to evaluate the alternative techniques is the accuracy of hedonic house price predictions. The empirical research is conducted using data obtained from the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD). The DCAD provided information for every parcel of real property in Dallas County. As of January 1, 2003, there were approximately 500,000 single-family homes in the DCAD area and 44,000 transactions in the 2000:4-2002:4 period. We find that both submarket constructs significantly increase hedonic prediction accuracy over a standard pooled model, but that neither construct statistically dominates the other. These results have important implications for empirically modeling submarkets within metropolitan area housing markets. Creating housing submarkets by combining spatially adjacent census block groups that lie within the same municipality and same independent school district is time consuming and costly. These results suggest that comparable increases in hedonic prediction accuracy can be achieved by delineating submarkets by dwelling size and median census block group per square foot transaction price.

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