Introduction and Themes

Research is at the core of the Department’s activities, we deliver a wide range of research output, both academic and industry facing. The real estate faculty are leading experts in their respective fields and regularly publish in the leading international journals. However, the academic output of the faculty is only one aspect of the research activities of the Department. Core to our mission is the delivery of a wide range of industry facing applied research. We do not view this as being mutually exclusive to the delivery of academic research of the absolute highest quality.

Our mission is to be a thought leader in the delivery of research that address the challenges facing real estate and the broader built environment in the 21st century. At its heart our research strategy draws upon the Department’s interdisciplinary setting within the College of Built Environments as well as the collaborative links with other parts of the University. This focus means not only being at the forefront of academic debate but influencing and being a resource for industry professionals and policy makers

Taking advantage of the deep pool of expertise at our disposal our aim is to connect best practice in the industry with world-leading academic research. Furthermore, by bringing both into a classroom setting it ensures that our students gain a balance of theoretical and practical knowledge. This commitment to industry facing research is highlighted by Simon Stevenson being co-editor of the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management, the applied investment journal of the American Real Estate Society. Our applied research output covers an array of issues. Core to it though is are the Housing Reports produced for the State of Washington. These reports provide the most comprehensive resource available on the residential markets in the state.

Our research program is drawn together under broad areas. These are not meant to be exclusive areas of study but themes that illustrate the range and scope of the research activities of the department.

Research: Global Real Estate

Real estate used to be all about the local. But that has changed fundamentally over recent years. The last two decades have also seen a considerable increase in the amount of cross-border investment in the sector, while global investors have emerged as key players, especially in the major global cities. The world has also witnessed rapid urbanization in recent years, indeed for the first time in history more people are living in urban environments than in any other setting. This is creating enormous challenges and opportunities for real estate in terms of investment and development.

At a global level cities are having to consider how to respond to issues such as sustainability & resilience and how they adapt to the changing global environment. Global cities are also increasingly inter-connected, socially, economically and politically. We are starting the see the start of the debate as to whether cities are replacing countries as the key global economic drivers given that cities are often the key incubator for economic innovation. More than ever the real estate industry has to consider the global perspective. Our research on global real estate covers a broad array of themes ranging from sustainability to foreign exchange exposure.

Research: Housing

Housing is at the forefront of the outreach research of the of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.  The development of a more academic focus to this strand of work is however a more recent venture. Academic members of staff have wide ranging research interests in housing economics and policy, including: house price dynamics; housing supply and mortgage lending.  An area that cuts across both the academic and applied areas of research is affordability and the challenges this can create in a socio-economic context.

Research: Finance, Investment and Risk

Although the Runstad Department of Real Estate is not based in a business school it has extensive research expertise in finance. The finance theme brings together a number of these areas, in both an academic and applied context, with the aim of fully engaging with the real estate and financial sectors through both the provision of dedicated research reports and the dissemination of faculty’s academic research to a broader audience.

Research in the field of finance and investment management covers a broad spectrum of issues and considers both the private and public real estate markets and technical subjects such as the modelling of real estate markets. Recent research has considered topics such as the accuracy of forecasts of real estate markets; monetary policy and the interest rate sensitivity of REITs; the synchronization of cycles across global office markets; REIT volatility. Current projects are considering an equally broad range of topics including liquidity; the performance of unlisted real estate funds and REIT corporate governance.

We welcome the opportunity to engage and work alongside research users and partners across all sectors. If you would more information about our research portfolio, please contact Professor Simon Stevenson (ss243@uw.edu) or James Young, the Director of the WCRER (jyoung4@uw.edu).