Academic journal article Journal of Real Estate Literature

Review Articles: TOPICS IN REAL ESTATE RESEARCH, 1973-2010: A LATENT SEMANTIC ANALYSIS

Academic journal article Journal of Real Estate Literature

Review Articles: TOPICS IN REAL ESTATE RESEARCH, 1973-2010: A LATENT SEMANTIC ANALYSIS

Article excerpt

Abstract

With the development and evolution of real estate literature a number of studies, primarily qualitative, have attempted to build structure into the body of published research. This research uses Latent Semantic Analysis to evaluate the content of abstracts published in Real Estate Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and the Journal of Real Estate Research from 1973 through 2010. Two main themes are identified and results are disaggregated, creating a pool of 25 topics within the main themes. Findings show a relatively stable pattern of research for some topics and the influence of market conditions on others. The extracted research topics comprise the intellectual core of real estate research.

The study of real estate as an academic discipline has been conducted in many different ways. Several studies have used the number of citations a given article or journal generates as the basis for analysis, while others have surveyed faculty members from a pedagogical perspective, inquiring about course offerings and undergraduate or graduate programs. Still others have used faculty publication records or university affiliations as a framework. This paper takes a different approach. Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) is used to examine word patterns in a large body of published real estate research in order to establish a topical structure that defines the intellectual core of the real estate discipline. Specifically, the abstracts of all research papers published between 1973 and 2010 in the three primary real estate journals-Real Estate Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and the Journal of Real Estate Research-are analyzed at various alternative levels of semantic aggregation. At one such level of aggregation, results identify two core research areas that have remained relatively stable over the study period: (1) real property markets and (2) real estate portfolios. The two areas are relatively balanced across the three journals with 53% and 47% of published articles, respectively. In addition to the core, LSA is used to regulate the data aggregation at more detailed levels, suggesting different themes within those two areas.

BACKGROUND

BRIEF HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE ACADEMIC ORGANIZATIONS AND JOURNALS

On December 29, 1964, a group of about 20 real estate academics created the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA). Prior to this, real estate was not widely accepted as an academic discipline separate from the social sciences and there was no academic organization catering to the field. The only existing forum for academics was the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB, later the National Association of Realtors, NAR) education committee, whose focus was to make recommendations regarding educational policies and practice for NAREB members. AREUEA was founded with the chief objectives of encouraging research in real estate and promoting the development of real estate as an academic discipline (Hendershott, Thibodeau, and Smith, 2009).

In 1973 the inaugural issue of the Journal of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA Journal) was published, marking the beginning of a distinct, multi- and interdisciplinary research field in real estate. Over the years, the topics covered within the journal differed, but the most highly referenced papers fell into four distinct categories: housing, urban, commercial, and finance. Housing topics ranged from tenure choice to subsidies to price determination. Urban papers covered environmental issues, transportation, and rent gradients. Commercial topics include portfolio analysis and land development, and the finance papers were focused on issues relevant to both the commercial and residential markets. In 1989 the AREUEA Journal became known as Real Estate Economics.

While AREUEA served as a strong advocate for real estate as an academic discipline, it became obvious to some members that a second organization focused on bridging the gap between the profession and the academy was needed. …

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