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New Faculty Interview - Alina Arefeva

Posted By David Walsh, Greystar, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Assistant Professor Alina Arefeva joined the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics faculty in May of 2018. Prior to UW-Madison, Arefeva taught real estate investment and development at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She received her BA in Economics from Higher School of Economics (HSE) and MA from New Economics School, both in Moscow, and her Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. She has served as a Summer Economics Fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and currently focuses her research on implications of search frictions for house prices.

 

Dr. Arefeva, welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After studying, researching, and teaching in such diverse locations, what excites you to join the team at the Wisconsin School of Business?

My colleagues here are the leaders in real estate research and their feedback is crucial for my work. I have the opportunity to teach smart students who are passionate about the same topic as I am - real estate.

 

How have your global experiences impacted your view on real estate, research, or academics?

When I have searched for my first home in Moscow, I realized how long it takes to buy and sell a home, and this time is related to the sales prices. Moreover, market could be either completely stale or very hot with many transactions.  I have got excited in studying the interaction of the search frictions and the price formation process which is my research agenda.

 

Would you please explain to WREAA Blog readers your research focus of residential real estate search frictions?

I work on real estate, finance, and macroeconomics. I am focusing on how buyers and seller interact in the housing markets, and how this affects the final prices. In recent years, we see more frequently bidding wars between buyers, i.e. when there are many buyers interested in the same house. Buyers decide on their best offers and submit to a seller, and the seller typically sells to the highest bidder. I study the implications of this process for the formation of prices. For example, in one of my papers, I show that the price volatility is higher if houses are sold in bidding wars as opposed to one-to-one negotiation which helps to understand the puzzle of the excess volatility of house prices. In another paper, I study how the seller should structure the selling procedure to get the highest house price.

 

In a still young career, you have already been given numerous awards and grants and been invited to present at many conferences. What stands out as a highlight of your career thus far?

It is always the people: my colleagues and students.  

 

What has been a highlight of your fall in Madison?

Meeting the UW students and faculty! They are incredible, and I am happy to be part of the school.

 

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