Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Real Estate

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Ziobrowski

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Gibler

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Wiley

Fourth Advisor

Dr. N. Edward Coulson (External)


Using a system of multi-step equations, I examine the association between online rental searches and fundamental apartment real estate market variables namely, vacancy rates, rental rates and real estate asset price returns. I find that consumer real estate searches are significantly associated with the market fundamentals after controlling for known determinants of these variables. In particular, I show that apartment rentals related online searches are endogenously and contemporaneously associated with reduced vacancy rate. However, the association between the searches and rental rates is not significantly detected. The searches are contemporaneously associated with positive return on the appraised values of multifamily assets. There is some evidence that the searches are fundamentally associated with REIT returns in the short run and that REIT investors watch the online search trends to inform their stock pricing decisions.