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    The Secret Agent Report - Temperature

    September 2015


    Temperature [Download PDF]

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    “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot stop spring from coming.”
    – Pablo Neruda

    What better way to welcome the month of Spring than with a report about weather! Temperature plays a key role in this report. We are all looking forward to the next few months as mornings become brighter earlier and the days hit temperatures over 20 degrees celcius again.

    When it comes to selling and buying houses, Melbourne’s favourite method is still the auction. On a sunny Saturday morning, many houses being auctioned can draw quite the crowd. In this report, Secret Agent looks at the impact of the weather, in particular temperature, on auction results. Does temperature have an impact on price or does a cold day merely weed out the number of onlookers?


    Weather can affect our mood in various ways and, through this, influence our behaviour and decisions. Rainy days can make us feel sad and dull. Sunlight can diminish tiredness and boost positive moods. Simply thinking about the warm Spring days ahead makes Secret Agent happy.

    It is thought that people tend to evaluate future prospects with more optimism when they are feeling good. People are said to tip more generously on sunny days, and an upbeat mood can even have implications for the stock market.

    An investigation into the relationship between morning sunshine and market index stock returns each day at 26 stock exchanges internationally found that there is a strong positive correlation. (Hershleifer and Shumway, 2001) Other weather conditions such as rain or snow were not found to have any relationship with returns.

    Sunny weather is better for forging new relationships too. A psychologist in France performed an experiment in which he approached women on sunny and cloudy days and asked them for their phone number. The women were more receptive to his flirtatious behaviour on sunny days with 22% giving him their number, as opposed to cloudy days where only 13% were happy to. (Gueguen, 2013)

    Temperature can also impact our behaviour independent of sunshine or rain. One study looking at the relationship between weather and helping behaviour found that a moderate temperature of about 20 degrees celsius is said to be ideal for most people. (Cunningham, 1979) Once you deviate from this happy medium, people felt a greater degree of discomfort and were less likely to help.

    Heat is said to bring out the worst in people. Rates of aggression and violence are higher on hotter days of the year. A Dutch experiment involved placing police officers in a simulated burglary in hot and cold conditions. They found that police officers were more likely to draw their weapons and shoot the suspect in the hot environment than in a colder one. On a baseball field, pitchers are more likely to hit batters on a hot day. (Anderson, 2001) A study analysing the content of news reports filed out of Beijing during the Olympics found that the Air Pollution Index and daily temperatures had an impact on the negativity of the reports, with more negative words used as temperature and air pollution rose. (Zhong and Zhou, 2012)

    This prompted us to think that temperature may also have an effect on auction results that is independent of seasonal factors. Secret Agent decided to test this out to determine if daily temperature influences property prices in an auction environment.