Efficient markets should guarantee the existence of zero spreads for total return swaps. However, real estate markets have recorded values that are significantly different from zero in both directions. Possible explanations might suggest non-rational behaviour by inexperienced market players or unusual features of the underlying asset market. We find that institutional characteristics in the underlying market lead to market inefficiencies and, hence, to the creation of a rational trading window with upper and lower bounds within which transactions do not offer arbitrage opportunities. Given the existence of this rational trading window, we also argue that the observed spreads can substantially be explained by trading imbalances due to the limited liquidity of a newly formed market and/or to the effect\ud of market sentiment, complementing explanations based on the lag between underlying market returns and index returns
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