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Commercial real estate indices play an important role in performance evaluation and overall investment strategy. However, the issue of how representative they are of the price appreciation on individual commercial real estate properties is an open issue. Our study addresses this topic by analyzing a sample of 8864 repeat sales transactions between 1998 and 2010. We find that aggregate real estate indices do a modest job of explaining individual property price appreciation. We find some evidence that this performance is improved by very tightly focused indices. However, controlling for property level cash flow, nearly half the variation in property price appreciation is still unexplained. Our findings cast some doubt on the applicability of these indices for performance evaluation and as a vehicle to hedge commercial real estate.


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