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Stale Prices, Fragility, and Detrimental Cash:Evidence from Private Real Estate Funds

Spencer J. Couts
This paper documents a new source of financial fragility and studies its inter-actions with common stabilization tools. Economists believe funds report stale Net Asset Values (NAVs) when they invest in illiquid assets. This staleness creates return predictability, NAV-timing risks, and fund fragility risks for open-end funds. However, because their assets are illiquid, managers limit fund flows to deter buying assets at a premium or selling them at a discount. Limiting flows has the secondary effect of protecting against the risks stale NAVs create. Interestingly, illiquidity in the underlying assets creates the opportunity for, and the friction against, exploiting buy-and-hold investors.