Commercial Real Estate Analysis & Investments

By Slawson, Carlos | Journal of Real Estate Literature, January 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

Commercial Real Estate Analysis & Investments


Slawson, Carlos, Journal of Real Estate Literature


Commercial Real Estate Analysis & Investments. David M. Geltner and Norman G. Miller, Florence, KY: South-Western (Thomson Learning), 2001.

Reviewed by: Carlos Slawson, Louisiana State University.

A new real estate textbook written by David M. Geltner and Norman G. Miller appeared in print during the Fall of 2000. The purpose of the textbook, as stated in the preface, is to present a real estate "body of knowledge" at a level that the typical American graduate student can readily understand. The authors carry out this goal using a fresh style that is academically rigorous, yet practically relevant. Using this text, the student is immediately submerged within a solid financial economics framework. Commercial real estate is portrayed as an integrated analysis of corporate finance and investments. Within this framework of core MBA principles, the textbook also attempts to bridge "Wall Street to Main Street," making this textbook an excellent choice for instructors of masters-level real estate courses who desire to provide academic rigor with practical relevance for real estate decision-making.

Organization and Readability

This nearly 900 page textbook contains thirty chapters with the following sections:

1. An Introduction to Real Estate Economics

2. Urban Economics and Real Estate Market Analysis

3. Basic Financial Economic Concepts and Tools

4. Real Estate Investment Analysis & Valuation at the Micro Level

5. Completing the Basic Investment Analysis Picture

6. Mortgages from an Investment Perspective

7. Macro-level Real Estate Investment Issues

8. Real Estate Development and Other Selected Topics.

This textbook is grounded in the commercial real estate decision-making process using principles of financial and urban economics. It is designed to develop and communicate a coherent body of knowledge to address real estate and mortgage valuation and investment issues at a basic or macro level. It may be impossible to cover this textbook in one semester. However, the division of chapters makes it adaptable to many formats.

There are four different levels and types of text, that in some chapters, appear to be an assortment of two-dimensional "hyper-texts." First is the traditional chapter text, comprised of the main flow within each chapter. Second are occasional text boxes. The text boxes are short topics or features alongside the main text that provide additional insight or perspective on some issues. Others ask a research question or discuss a timely issue. For example, some of the titles are "How Are Pension Fund Contributions Effectively Tax-exempt?" (Chapter 15), "Can Portfolio Theory Be Applied Within the Real Estate Portfolio?" (Chapter 21) or "A Simple One-step Version for the NPI Reverse-Engineering Model" (Chapter 25). Third are the footnotes that provide an additional level of depth, particularly in the more technical and theoretical topics. The footnotes are more extensive than in most textbooks. Fourth are the chapter appendices, which cover particularly technical material. If one were to just read the main text, skipping the footnotes and appendices, one would considerably reduce the total word count of the book.

Instructors will also find three other useful features. A section of Answers to Selected Study Problems contains solutions to many of the end of chapter problems including a description of the steps or method if a question involves difficult methodological or theoretical issues. Another feature is the use of asterisks in subheading titles in the Table of Contents and within the chapters to indicate more fatiguing material. A student who skips or skims the asterisked sections can still follow the book. However, some of the chapters (particularly in Section 7) appear to be written more for academics and Ph.D. students than for typical graduate students. Finally, the authors plan to provide overhead transparencies (as Microsoft Word files and possibly as PowerPoint files) for all the chapters, as well as other instructional aids such as test banks and homework problem sets. …

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