Urban Real Estate Markets: Characteristics and Financing

By Ernest M. Fisher | Go to book overview

C H A P T E R 1
Economic Characteristics of Private Property in Urban Land and Improvements

TRANSACTIONS in urban real estate markets consist of sales and purchases, exchanges and transfers, and pledges of the rights to the exclusive control and use of urban land and improvements.1 It is these rights, not the actual land and improvements, which constitute property of economic significance. From land and improvements comes a flow of varied and numerous services or utilities essential to civilized life. These may include not only mere shelter but also a pleasant environment, the convenience of rapid communication, accessibility to places of employment and shopping facilities, and other features of community life. They may consist of such intangible satisfactions as a good address, or proximity to the great or near-great. The exclusive right to enjoy or control any or all of these services for any period of time constitutes property.


PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTY IN LAND AND IMPROVEMENTS

Property in land and improvements may be held by public authority or by private individuals; and, since many services are supplied, the right to enjoy or control them may be divided between public authority and one or more private individuals. Thus, both private and public property may exist in connection with the flow of

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1
Many real estate terms with undefined or ambiguous meanings are widely used. Thus, in law, "real property" is used as an antithesis to "personal property," and both are used to signify either rights or physical objects. Sometimes, "realty" and "personalty" are used to apply to things, the term "property" being reserved for rights; but, in common language, "property" is frequently used to signify a parcel of land and its improvements. The term "real estate" is no more precise, for in common parlance it may mean land and improvements, or rights in land and improvements, whether technically real or personal property. In the expression, "real estate market," reference is usually to the sale or transfer of any of the rights, principally fees and leaseholds, and the pledge of these interests by execution of mortgages or their equivalent.

In this study, the term "property" is used only in connection with rights in land and improvements; land and improvements, when the physical objects are referred to; and "real estate" to denote both rights (whether in real or personal property) and the physical objects in which these rights inhere.

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