We are delighted to announce that Alina Arefeva has joined the Department of Real Estate faculty in June. Arefeva previously worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Finance at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She brings a unique mix of innovative research, teaching expertise, and dedication to students and the business community, which make for an excellent fit for the Wisconsin Real Estate program.
Arefeva received her PhD at Stanford University. She was born in Turkmenistan and before coming to United States, she earned an MA at the New Economics School (NES) and Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Russia. Her research interests span real estate economics, finance and macroeconomics. Her research has been recognized with fellowships from Stanford, NES, P.Aven’s Foundation and research grants from the Government of the Russian Federation, HSE and the Oxford-Russia Fund.
“Alina brings great expertise in real estate economics and housing markets research. The breadth of her research competence makes her a great complement to every single one of our current faculty members,” says Department Chair Tim Riddiough. “Once again, we are fortunate to have landed a new faculty member who will not only perform research at the frontier of science but will facilitate connections with students, real estate professionals and policymakers.”
In the interview below, Arefeva shares some of her specific research pursuits and explains why she is looking forward to being a part of the Wisconsin Real Estate program.
What first attracted you to real estate?
My interest has started in housing markets. For most people, home is the biggest part of their portfolio, and purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions that they make.
Tell us about your research interests and why you are passionate about this topic?
When I have searched for my first home, I realized how long it takes to buy and sell a home, and this time is related to the sales prices. I have got excited in studying the interaction of the search frictions and the price formation process which is my research agenda.
What do you want the public to know about your research? Why is your topic important?
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.
Who were your key mentors?
Monika Piazzesi, Robert Hall, Pablo Kurlat, Martin Schneider, Paul Milgrom, Darrell Duffie had a huge influence on my work and I am deeply grateful to them for their mentorship.
What convinced you to join the UW Real Estate faculty?
This is the best real estate program! My colleagues here are the leaders in the real estate research and their feedback is crucial for my work. I have an ability to teach smart students who are passionate about the same topic as I am – real estate.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I most looking forward to working with my colleagues at the department on research and teaching.
What do you hope to contribute to the Department of Real Estate and the Wisconsin School of Business?
I hope to advance the department by understanding the microstructure of the housing markets and being a leader in this field by publishing in top journals. I hope to develop the urban economics class that will be theoretical enough so that students understand how cities work but practical enough that they can get busy by building and developing those cities for the good of everyone.
What’s your favorite part of Madison so far?
In short: Lakes! I love the parks near Mendota and Wingra and bath path between Park St and Monona.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love any physical activities: running, hiking, weight lifting, biking, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, etc.