THE EVALUATION OF THE AUSTRALIAN OFFICE MARKET FORECAST ACCURACY

Perera, Treshani and Higgins, David and Wong, Woon-Weng (2017) THE EVALUATION OF THE AUSTRALIAN OFFICE MARKET FORECAST ACCURACY. Journal of Property Investment and Finance. ISSN 1463-578X (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose: Property market models have the overriding aim of predicting reasonable estimates of key dependent variables (demand, supply, rent, yield, vacancy and net absorption rate). These can be based on independent drivers of core property and economic activities. Accurate
predictions can only be conducted when ample quantitative data are available with fewer uncertainties. However, a broad-fronted social, technical and ecological evolution can throw up sudden, unexpected shocks that result in the econometric outputs sceptical to unknown risk factors. Therefore, this paper aims at evaluating Australian office market forecast accuracy and to determine whether the forecasts capture extreme downside risk events.

Design/methodology/approach: This study follows a quantitative research approach, using secondary data analysis to test the accuracy of economists’ forecasts. The forecast accuracy evaluation encompasses the measurement of economic and property forecasts under the following phases: (i) testing for the forecast accuracy, (ii) analysing outliers of forecast errors and (iii) testing of causal relationships. Forecast accuracy measurement incorporates scale independent metrics that include Theil’s U values (U1 and U2) and mean absolute scaled error
(MASE). Inter Quartile Range (IQR) rule is used for the outlier analysis. To find the causal relationships among variables, the time series regression methodology is utilised, including multiple regression analysis and Granger causality developed under the vector auto regression
(VAR).

Findings: The credibility of economic and property forecasts was questionable around the period of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC); a significant man-made Black Swan event. The forecast accuracy measurement highlighted rental movement and net absorption forecast errors as the critical inaccurate predictions. These key property variables are explained by historic information and independent economic variables. However, these do not explain the changes when error time series of the variables were concerned. According to VAR estimates, all
property variables have a significant causality derived from the lagged values of Australian S&P/ASX 200 (ASX) forecast errors. Therefore, lagged ASX forecast errors could be used as a warning signal to adjust property forecasts.

Research Limitations: Secondary data were obtained from the premier Australian property markets: Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. A limited 10-year timeframe (2001 – 2011) was used in the ex-post analysis for the comparison of economic and
property variables. Forecasts ceased from 2011, due to the discontinuity of the Australian Financial Review (AFR) quarterly survey of economists; the main source of economic forecast data.

Practical implications: The research strongly recommended naïve forecasts for the property variables, as an input determinant in each office market forecast equation. Further, lagged forecast errors in the ASX could be used as a warning signal for the successive property forecast errors. Hence, data adjustments can be made to ensure the accuracy of the Australian office market forecasts.

Originality/value: The paper highlights the critical inaccuracy of the Australian office market forecasts around the GFC. In an environment of increasing incidence of unknown events, these types of risk events should not be dismissed as statistical outliers in real estate modelling. As a proactive strategy to improve office market forecasts, lagged ASX forecast errors could be used
as a warning signal. This causality was mirrored in rental movements and total vacancy forecast errors. The close interdependency between rents and vacancy rates in the forecasting process and the volatility in rental cash flows reflects on direct property investment and subsequently on the ASX, is therefore justified.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australian office market, causal relationship, forecast accuracy, forecast errors, outliers, scale-independent forecast accuracy metrics.
Subjects: K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment > Resilient Environments
UoA Collections > UoA16: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
Depositing User: $ Ian McDonald
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2017 10:57
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 08:35
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5096

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