A Long Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973

A Comprehensive Review of Long-term Real Estate Trends and Their Implications

Maria Irene

In “A Long Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973,” real estate finance professor Piet Eichholtz provides a fascinating and in-depth analysis of the real estate market using over three centuries of data from the prestigious Herengracht Canal in Amsterdam. This comprehensive study offers valuable insights into the long-term trends of the real estate market and serves as a crucial resource for anyone interested in understanding the cyclical nature of real estate investments.

Eichholtz’s groundbreaking research is based on the Herengracht Index, a unique dataset that tracks the changes in real estate values along the canal from 1628 to 1973. This index is remarkable for several reasons: it spans over 350 years of housing data, which is a rarity in the real estate market analysis, and it focuses on a specific, prime strip of real estate that has remained relatively unchanged throughout the centuries. This allows for a more accurate analysis of the locational value changes in the market.

One of the key findings of Eichholtz’s research is the importance of timing the market rather than relying on time in the market. The Herengracht Index clearly demonstrates that real estate investors who were able to time their purchases and sales correctly made significant gains, while those who did not lost everything. This reinforces the importance of understanding the 18.6-year real estate cycle for investors looking to capitalize on market fluctuations.

Eichholtz’s writing is clear and concise, making complex economic concepts easily accessible to readers of all backgrounds. The book is thoroughly researched and supported by ample data, charts, and historical anecdotes, allowing readers to fully grasp the long-term trends of the real estate market and their implications for investment strategies.

One of the most compelling aspects of “A Long Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973” is its ability to bring history to life through the lens of real estate. Eichholtz meticulously documents the various booms and busts of the Herengracht Canal, highlighting the broader economic and historical context of each period. This provides readers with a vivid understanding of how local and global events have shaped the real estate market over time.

The book also discusses the limitations of modern real estate indices, which often rely on short-term data and can be skewed by changes in housing stock, extensions, and upgrades. Eichholtz’s Herengracht Index, on the other hand, offers a more accurate representation of the locational value changes in the market by focusing on a small, significant strip of real estate with minimal alterations.

Overall, “A Long Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973” is a must-read for anyone interested in the real estate market, long-term investment strategies, and economic history. Eichholtz’s thorough research and engaging writing make this book both an informative and enjoyable read.

For those looking to delve deeper into the topic of long-term real estate trends and investment strategies, consider the following reading list:

  1. “The Secret Life of Real Estate and Banking” by Phillip J. Anderson: This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the real estate market, its relationship with banking, and the cyclical nature of the market. Anderson’s research spans over 200 years of data, offering valuable insights into long-term real estate trends.
  2. “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World” by Niall Ferguson: In this sweeping financial history, Ferguson explores the evolution of money and its impact on human society. The book delves into various aspects of finance, including the real estate market, providing a broader context for understanding long-term trends and their implications for investment strategies.
  3. “Irrational Exuberance” by Robert J. Shiller: Shiller’s influential work explores the psychological factors that drive speculative bubbles in various markets, including real estate. The book provides valuable insights into the causes and consequences of market booms and busts, helping investors navigate the cyclical nature of the real estate market.
  4. “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly” by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff: Drawing on an extensive dataset spanning eight centuries, Reinhart and Rogoff examine the patterns and consequences of financial crises, including those involving the real estate market. Their work offers a historical perspective on the cyclical nature of financial markets and the importance of understanding these patterns for successful investing.
  5. “The Great American Land Bubble: The Amazing Story of Land-Grabbing, Speculations, and Booms from Colonial Days to the Present Time” by Aaron M. Sakolski: This classic work chronicles the history of land speculation in the United States, providing insights into the factors that have driven real estate booms and busts throughout the nation’s history.
  6. “Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong” by Alice Poon: Poon’s book offers a fascinating case study of the real estate market in Hong Kong, exploring the role of land policy and the influence of the ruling class in shaping the city’s property market. This book provides valuable insights into the relationship between political and economic forces in the real estate market, which are relevant to investors in any region.
  7. “Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking, and the Depression of 2010” by Fred Harrison: Harrison’s work examines the role of real estate cycles in triggering economic depressions, offering a detailed analysis of the 18.6-year property cycle and its implications for investors and policymakers. The book is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding the connection between real estate trends and broader economic cycles.

In summary, “A Long Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973” by Piet Eichholtz is a groundbreaking and comprehensive analysis of long-term real estate trends, offering valuable insights and lessons for investors and policymakers alike. By supplementing your reading with the books listed above, you can gain a deeper understanding of the real estate market, its cyclical nature, and the factors that drive market fluctuations over time.


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Maria Irene
Maria Irenehttp://ledgerlife.io/
Maria Irene is a multi-faceted journalist with a focus on various domains including Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Real Estate, Energy, and Macroeconomics. With over a year of experience, she has produced an array of video content, news stories, and in-depth analyses. Her journalistic endeavours also involve a detailed exploration of the Australia-India partnership, pinpointing avenues for mutual collaboration. In addition to her work in journalism, Maria crafts easily digestible financial content for a specialised platform, demystifying complex economic theories for the layperson. She holds a strong belief that journalism should go beyond mere reporting; it should instigate meaningful discussions and effect change by spotlighting vital global issues. Committed to enriching public discourse, Maria aims to keep her audience not just well-informed, but also actively engaged across various platforms, encouraging them to partake in crucial global conversations.


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