An International Perspective on Real Estate Research Priorities

Article excerpt

Executive Summary. Surveys of real estate research priorities for real estate fund managers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Germany over 2000-03 are examined. Thirty-nine real estate research priorities are assessed, with much closer alignment for real estate research priorities in the U.K., Germany and Australia than seen for the U.S. The role of real estate in a mixed-asset portfolio and real estate and portfolio risk management figure prominently amongst the general real estate research priorities. The top specific real estate research priorities were the impact of capital flows, real estate cycles and real estate portfolio diversification. The underlying general real estate research priorities "dimensions" highlight the strategic issues involved in real estate research, particularly the changing real estate environment, strategic real estate issues and the role of real estate in the portfolio.

Introduction

Real estate research has taken on increased importance in recent years in the international arena. The establishment of the regional real estate societies (particularly ARES, ERES, PRRES and AsRES) and their annual conferences have been key catalysts to this expanded real estate research agenda, with much of this research having a strong real estate industry focus. As such, general real estate research areas have been identified by leading real estate academics in the United States and the United Kingdom (Lusht, 1993; Webb, 1997; Jaffe, 1998; Crosby, 2000; Worzala, 2002; and Adair, Crosby, Lim and Watkins, 2003), as well as by leading U.S. and Australian real estate practitioners (Winograd, 1999; Souza, 2000; Parker, 2001; and Steinert and Crowe, 2001).

To more fully assess the real estate research directions and priorities for U.S. institutional investors, extensive real estate industry surveys have been funded by the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) in 1992 (Ziering and Worzala, 1997) and the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) in 2000 (Worzala, Gilliland and Gordon, 2002), with Newell, Acheampong and Worzala (2002) conducting an equivalent real estate research priorities survey for Australia in 2001. In 2003, equivalent real estate research priority surveys have been conducted in the U.K. (Newell, McAllister and Worzala, 2003) and Germany (Schulte, Newell and Worzala, 2003).

Given these significant international real estate research developments, the purpose of this research is to compare the results of these four recent major international real estate surveys to examine the real estate research priorities of real estate fund managers in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Germany. Identification of these real estate research priorities will enable the more effective development of a real estate research agenda for real estate researchers in ARES, ERES, PRRES and AsRES, as well as for the emerging real estate societies of AfRES and LaRES.

Methodology

Surveys

Separate questionnaires involving general and specific real estate research topics for real estate fund managers were conducted in U.S. (Worzala et al., 2002), Australia (Newell et al., 2002), U.K. (Newell et al, 2003) and Germany (Schulte et al., 2003). From these four surveys conducted over 2000-03, twelve general real estate research topics and twenty-seven specific real estate research topics were common to all four surveys and form the basis for the survey analysis in this research. For these thirty-nine research topics, only slight changes in wording were used in the four surveys to accommodate differences in local real estate terminology.1 The earlier 1992 U.S. survey (Ziering and Worzala, 1997) was not included in this comparative study as the twenty-seven specific real estate research topics were not included and only a subset of the twelve general real estate research topics were involved.

Real estate fund managers were asked to assess how important they believed each real estate research topic was. …