The Accidental Real Estate Economist

March 23, 2015

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In January, 2012, we were incredibly fortunate to have the Washington Center for Real Estate Research relocate to the University of Washington and the Runstad Center from its former home at Washington State University, and with it, the extraordinary talents of its Director, Glenn Crellin.

Without question, these have been exciting times to be an analyst of real estate markets. Twenty-one years after the partnership between the universities and the Department of Licensing began, real estate research in Washington has come of age. The media depends on statistics produced by UW for its unbiased understanding of real market conditions: home sales and prices, housing affordability, rental markets, and, increasingly, commercial real estate. Recent history has seen such fluctuations in the market that it’s made this information an ever more critical factor in planning and building our cities, as well as an incredibly valuable resource for homeowners.

Glenn’s decision to retire was — in true analyst mode — not without quite a bit of soul searching, having largely defined that field, even before he completed his graduate studies. Glenn worked with the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington, DC, developing a new statistical model of housing starts. Thereafter followed assignments for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and research for the National Association of Realtors, during which he created the Housing Affordability Index, which endures to this day.

Here at the Runstad Center, WCRER also informs public policy discussions. Under Glenn’s leadership, they have studied how effective the Growth Management Act has been in promoting affordable housing, and have addressed how the real estate industry generally and the low-income housing industry in particular have contributed to the economy of the state. Research has advised the Washington State Housing Finance Commission on ways to allocate tax credits to those areas with the greatest need while ensuring that areas with smaller population have access to funds to help with their housing challenges. He also served at the invitation of the Attorney General on a blue-ribbon committee to recommend the allocation of funds under the foreclosure settlement with big mortgage lenders.

We are proud to share a little reflected glory with Glenn, who received accolades — justly earned — from the Washington Real Estate Commission for expanding their understanding of the industry they administer. He was honored by a resolution of the Washington House of Representatives, recognizing his service to the state, and duly recognized by the Washington Realtors at their Spring Business Conference. Finally, the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies is accepting gifts in honor of Glenn. “Nothing could be a more fitting tribute,” said Crellin, “and I am humbled by these recognitions.”

Donations can be made by clicking here.

Glenn, we wish you all the best as you set forth to enjoy a well-earned retirement! Travel well and far, esteemed colleague, and, especially, delight in time with your grandchildren. You will be missed.