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I have drawn upon my experience over several decades as a property analyst and strategy advisor for thousands of clients, concerning every aspect of the property markets — evaluating properties and property companies in over 100 countries, and working directly on the ground in some 20 countries — involving multiple trillion of dollars of property interests. Additionally, over the last two decades, I have completed three major studies concerning the content analysis of introductory real estate principles textbooks.

In the early 1990s, I undertook a comprehensive content analysis study of all of the real estate principles texts, which was published in the Journal of Real Estate Literature. I found that the existing textbooks devoted disproportionate emphasis to legal aspects and real estate brokerage. Overall, there was more of an orientation to prepare people for a licensing examination in order to work as a real estate agent. While the functions of the real estate agent is very important, it is a part — not the totality — of what is involved in real estate.

A few years ago, I revisited the original study. Shockingly, I found that the conditions discovered in the 1993 study had grown even worse. The collection of real estate textbooks had tilted even more towards the brokerage and technical legal emphasis. The sophistication of professional standards and practices, research and interest in a variety of important topics — ranging from securitization, to sustainability, to globalization, to spatial patterns, to migration, to market cycles, to workplace innovation and more — are significant forces in the contemporary real estate markets. Yet, these topics are hardly addressed in the real estate textbooks, given that so much publishing real estate is devoted to legal factors and brokerage.

I recently performed this research study for a third time, to be published this year in the Journal of Real Estate Literature. The results are not that different than before. Some books have left the market, others have entered, but overall the market continues to be dominated by real estate textbooks with the legal/brokerage emphasis, devoting too little attention addressing the very important major topics.

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