The Rate of Return on Real Estate: Long-Run Micro-Level Evidence

David Chambers, Christophe Spaenjers, Eva Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Real estate - housing in particular - is a less profitable investment in the long run than previously thought. We hand-collect property-level financial data for the institutional real estate portfolios of four large Oxbridge colleges over the period 1901-1983. Gross income yields initially fluctuate around 5%, but then trend downward (upward) for agricultural and residential (commercial) real estate. Long-term real income growth rates are close to zero for all property types. Our findings imply annualized real total returns, net of costs, ranging from approximately 2.3% for residential to 4.5% for agricultural real estate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3572-3607
Number of pages36
JournalReview of Financial Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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