House prices tend to be spatially correlated due to similar physical features shared by neighboring houses and commonalities attributable to their neighborhood environment. A multilevel model is one of the methodologies that has been frequently adopted to address spatial effects in modeling house prices. Empirical studies show its capability in accounting for neighborhood specific spatial autocorrelation (SA) and analyzing potential factors related to house prices at both individual and neighborhood levels. However, a standard multilevel model specification only considers within-neighborhood SA, which refers to similar house prices within a given neighborhood, but neglects between-neighborhood SA, which refers to similar house prices for adjacent neighborhoods that can commonly exist in residential areas. This oversight may lead to unreliable inference results for covariates, and subsequently less accurate house price predictions. This study proposes to extend a multilevel model using Moran eigenvector spatial filtering (MESF) methodology. This proposed model can take into account simultaneously between-neighborhood SA with a set of Moran eigenvectors as well as potential within-neighborhood SA with a random effects term. An empirical analysis of 2016 and 2017 house prices in Fairfax County, Virginia, illustrates the capability of a multilevel MESF model specification in accounting for between-neighborhood SA present in data. A comparison of its model performance and house price prediction outcomes with conventional methodologies also indicates that the multilevel MESF model outperforms standard multilevel and hedonic models. With its simple and flexible feature, a multilevel MESF model can furnish an appealing and useful approach for understanding the underlying spatial distribution of house prices.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited