Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis

Article excerpt

Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis, Grant I. Thrall, 2002, 263 pages, Oxford University Press.

Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis is an ambitious, intriguing and valuable book. Any book that purports in its title to offer something "new" immediately generates scrutiny. With this title, Thrall casts himself a challenge to produce something that is indeed new and, in order to be worth reading, valuable. Thrall succeeds in doing both. He does so less in the spirit of invention than in the spirit of discovery and synthesis. Indeed, in the preface, Thrall writes, "This book integrates ideas, methods, technologies and objectives in an opportunistic manner to achieve the goal of providing information to improve the real estate decision."

In overview, the book is short, only 263 pages, including references and index. The length reflects a well-thought-out design and a concise writing style. Examples, tables and graphics are used throughout to illustrate the conceptual content and its application. The book consists of two parts. Part I, "Overview, Theory, and Methods" contains about 100 pages and provides an overview of real estate markets and submarkets, land use and land value theories, and real estate market research. Part II, "Application to Real Estate Product Types" contains about 130 pages and addresses the detailed application of the theory and techniques considered in Part I to five primary property types, with an emphasis on research design and interpretation and the use of geographic information systems to analyze and present spatial information. Thrall effectively utilizes a "mentor" writing style throughout the book without being chatty.

Part I, "Overview, Theory, and Methods," provides the reader with insightful syntheses of geographic concepts and urban land economics. His discussions of submarkets and urban land use and value theories are particularly well done. Thrall's graphical approach to urban land values skillfully integrates standard microeconomics concepts into urban land use theory. The graphical approach presented in this book is a summary of much more detailed work in numerous articles by Thrall and in his 1987 book, Land Use and Urban Form.1 The theoretical presentation is accessible to those with varying levels of economic backgrounds. After reading this part of the book, the reader is well along the way to the author's goal of reasoning geographically, a prerequisite for the next major part of the book dealing with applying this knowledge.

In the application chapters, Thrall provides a structured framework for each property type. While tailored to each property type, the basic framework begins with an analysis of the economics of the subject property type, followed by market area delineation, the estimation of supply and demand, and, ultimately, the interpretation of the results and report preparation. Issues and techniques particular to each property type, such as the use of geography-based econometric models in office analysis, are presented. In each chapter the use of appropriate geographic technology to perform geographic and economic analyses is considered within the context of spatial reasoning. …