Real Estate Analysis: Environments and Activities

Article excerpt

Real Estate Analysis: Environments and Activities. Julian Diaz III and J.

Andrew Hansz. 538 pages, Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2010.

The emerging academic discipline of real estate may intrigue a student as much as it can perplex. Across the schools internationally, real estate has been taught in varying flavors. For example, a number of schools, particularly in Europe and Asia offer real estate education through their faculties of engineering and design. Similarly, some distinct themes can be identified in real estate programs in the United States, namely, economics, finance, and urban studies. Although, several real estate programs have been successful in galvanizing a comprehensive real estate perspective forging multidisciplinary faculties from different schools, colleges or departments, the need for an integrated understanding of real estate remains critically important. Courses on Real Estate Principles, thus, lay a sound foundation for students to build further knowledge upon. Obviously, one potential issue with such books is to identify the 'box' in which to fit the contents. Some extant publications on real estate principles have been authored with distinct themes: economics, finance or law. Real Estate Analysis: Environments and Activities by Julian Diaz III and J. Andrew Hansz is, however, a holistic introduction to real estate as an academic discipline.

Based on real estate activities model, the book provides a comprehensive introduction to several facets of real estate. More importantly, the book has varying appeals for different audiences. It motivates undergraduate students of different major areas to relate to real estate as a discipline. For graduate students, it is the 'new perspectives' of analyzing real estate phenomena that makes this book unique. For example, recently a graduate student wrote to me: ''I've never seen it taught in that format, but it helps more in 'absorbing' the content.'' He was referring to the graphical representation of the Time Value of Money (TVM) concepts, which are based on the discussions provided in the book.

Organization and Readability

The 'real estate activities model' developed by Julian Diaz III is one of the most impressive descriptions of the real estate environments and activities, which is as helpful to the students for learning as it is to educators in organizing the concept map for the course. It provides a lucid relationship between various entities and their interlinking activities in the real estate system. The model posits real estate both as 'product and process' and leads the classroom discussion through a well-connected series of intellectually stimulating discussions. The authors have a knack for addressing profundities with plainly, yet, thoughtfully drafted writing style. Core contents are supplemented by tastefully developed graphics, carefully chosen photographs, and 'associative structure aids' boxes.

The book has 14 chapters and three sections. The chapters are efficiently organized to cover a full semester in college or university teaching. The first section provides an introduction to real estate (Chapters 1-4) and helps in developing basic financial understanding (Chapter 5). The second section (Chapters 6-7) describes the relevant markets and environments of real estate. The third section (Chapters 9-14) discusses various real estate activities (such as lending, investing, consuming, governance, professional services, etc.) in detail. I do not cover the topics in this order but face no difficulties in re-organizing the lectures based on the book.

Chapter 1 is an 'eye-opener' for many as it exposes students to a whole gamut of real estate topics. Several students find it intriguing that there is far more to real estate than what they had imagined. I enjoy the discussion on market efficiency, a topic which captures the interest of students from all majors: business or non-business. …