Thrall, Grant Ian, 2002. Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis, Oxford University Press: New York and Oxford.
Table of Contents
Business geography integrates geographic analysis, reasoning, and technology for the improvement of the business judgmental decision. Without the demonstrated ability to improve the business decision, there is no business geography. This differentiates business geography from the traditional descriptive or explanatory objective of economic and urban geography.
New real estate market analysis in this book is the assembly of information on trade areas, demand, and competitive supply for the purpose of improving the judgmental decision regarding the real estate product. But, real estate market analysis as practiced and taught in universities has generally not conformed to my definition. Rather, real estate market analysis has been a jack-of-all-trades, all things to all people. It has been financial analysis, urban planning, and building construction cost estimation, even law and construction management as practiced by some firms. Each is important to real estate decisions; but, to be proficient, specialists in those areas will certainly agree that each requires very specific and very deep knowledge bases. Today, the depth of knowledge required, and expectation of the marketplace for professional high-level proficiency, precludes one from becoming a master of each and all. Because of the jack-of-all-trades niche that real estate market analysis has occupied, it has been relegated to being insignificant and low status in most real estate departments. I believe that limiting real estate market analysis to have the focus presented here allows the analyst to acquire a depth of knowledge equal to any academic subject in business or social sciences, and business profession, while at the same time being relevant to the real estate decision.
But, there is more to what differentiates new real estate market analysis from what has gone before. Newness also comes from business geography. Business geographers and real estate market analysts have been practicing in parallel for decades. And, academics in both geography and real estate have often pursued the same problems, with the same objectives, but with different methods. Today the methods have converged because of GIS (geographic information systems). The use of business geography technology and methods for the calculation of trade area, demand, supply and absorption analysis, makes for a new real estate market analysis that is more productive, more accurate, and more valuable to the judgmental decision.
and so forth ...
The entire Index, Preface and Chapter 1 are publicly available on the Oxford internet web site
I have placed about 150 multiple choice questions regarding the book on the internet. The questions were written as a classroom exercise by students enrolled in one of my classes, Spring 2002. I have reviewed the questions, but the questions will need to be polished up a bit. As I use the book, I will add more content to the web page. I will welcome submissions of case studies and study questions, to the web page. The url is: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/thrall/class/g5157/studyquestions5157.html
Originally intended for Chapter 10, this is a comprehensive annotated
list of data for real estate and business geographic analysis.
It now serves as the American Real Estate Society's official list and categorization of data.
Grant Ian Thrall, Professor Campus Box 117315, 3121 Turlington Hall
University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611
University of Florida office tel: 352-392-0494 ext 205
University of Florida office fax: 352-392-8855
Book Review Of Grant Thrall's Business Geography
and New Real Estate Market Analysis
Dr. Susan Wachter, Professor of Real Estate and Finance, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during President Clinton's Administration. From the book cover.
This book makes a compelling argument for the use of business geography technology in real estate decision-making and, most importantly, provides the tools to do so. The volume's unique and timely contribution is to show the importance of this new technology and to provide a guide to the practical tools for employing the technology in the rapidly evolving real estate industry. Dr. Thrall links the rigorous analysis of the theory and practices of geographical information science to economic models of urban land use and real estate markets, and thus contributes to the advancement of both fields. For students of real estate market analysis, this volume is a must read." .
Book Review Of Grant Thrall's Business Geography
and New Real Estate Market Analysis
Dr. Kingsley E. Haynes, Dean, School of Public Policy, George Mason University. From the book cover.
"This is a book that every person in business needs to read and that those regulating business need to understand. It is central to the full appreciation of the management of the delivery of customer services. One must understand the geography of supply and demand, a geography that can be made clear and expressed visually with all the special characteristics of the local environment using GIS (geographic information systems). One of these business services - real estate - is particularly expressive of these spatial relationships. Thrall has done a wonderful job making these complex relationships transparent by making difficult solutions understandable to all through GIS. An outstanding contribution to business and geography."
Book Review Of Grant Thrall's Business Geography
and New Real Estate Market Analysis
Dr. Larry E. Wofford, President, C & L Systems Corporation, Tulsa OK
former President of the American Real Estate Society, and former Chair, Real Estate, Tulsa University
from Journal Of Real Estate Literature, American Real Estate Society. Summer 2003.
Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis by Grant I. Thrall is an ambitious, intriguing, and valuable book. Any book that purports in its title to offer something "new" immediately generates scrutiny. With this title, Thrall casts himself a challenge to produce something that is indeed new and, in order to be worth reading, valuable. Thrall succeeds in doing both. He does so less in the spirit of invention than in the spirit of discovery and synthesis. Indeed, in the preface, Thrall writes, "This book integrates ideas, methods, technologies, and objectives in an opportunistic manner to achieve the goal of providing information to improve the real estate decision."
In overview, the book is short, only 263 pages, including references and index. The length reflects a well-thought-out design and a concise writing style. Examples, tables, and graphics are used throughout to illustrate the conceptual content and its application. The book consists of two parts. Part I, "Overview, Theory, and Methods" contains about 100 pages and provides an overview of real estate markets and submarkets, land use and land value theories, and real estate market research. Part II, "Application to Real Estate Product Types" contains about 130 pages and addresses the detailed application of the theory and techniques considered in Part I to five primary property types, with an emphasis on research design and interpretation and the use of geographic information systems to analyze and present spatial information. Thrall effectively utilizes a "mentor" writing style throughout the book without being chatty.
Part I, "Overview, Theory, and Methods" Thrall provides the reader with insightful syntheses of geographic concepts and urban land economics. His discussions of submarkets and urban land use and value theories are particularly well done. Thrall's graphical approach to urban land values skillfully integrates standard microeconomics concepts into urban land use theory. The graphical approach presented in this book is a summary of much more detailed work in numerous articles by Thrall and in his 1987 book, Land Use and Urban Form.2 The theoretical presentation is accessible to those with varying levels of economic backgrounds. After reading this part of the book, the reader is well along the way to the author's goal of reasoning geographically, a prerequisite for the next major part of the book dealing with applying this knowledge.
In the application chapters, Thrall provides a structured framework for each property type. While tailored to each property type, the basic framework begins with an analysis of the economics of the subject property type, followed by market area delineation, the estimation of supply and demand, and, ultimately, the interpretation of the results and report preparation. Issues and techniques particular to each property type, such as the use of geography-based econometric models in office analysis, are presented. In each chapter the use of appropriate geographic technology to perform geographic and economic analyses is considered within the context of spatial reasoning.
The "new" aspect of the book centers on an excellent synthesis of business geography and urban land economics and the consideration of such topics as land use and land value theories, trade area determination, demand, and supply estimation. "New" also includes the incorporation of geographic information systems technology. The application of business geography and urban land economic concepts and geographic methodology and technology to improving real estate decisions makes the book particularly valuable to both academic and professional readers. As stated by Thrall, "Another of my goals in writing this book was to bridge the gap between industry and university, and to present a structure and knowledge base that I have found beneficial in getting the job done." In short, the reader learns to reason geographically.
A common complaint among real estate professionals is that land use and value theories are seldom rigorously linked to performing market research. Thrall thoughtfully integrates GIS technology to answer this complaint. He considers problems and pitfalls with the technology, as well as its potential. Thrall focuses on providing a theoretical and applied framework designed to develop the ability to convert data into information in a spatial context. Thrall highlights the relevance of geography by educating the reader on basic concepts, relationships, and technologies available to plan, execute, and interpret real estate market research. Thrall provides a valuable guide to the "why" of real estate market research.
In the classroom, the book would be an excellent primary text, especially if supplemented by problem and case-study assignments designed to provide hands-on experience with market research and geographic information technology. It should be noted that the book does not promote a particular GIS software package and does not cover in detail how to use any particular GIS software. Excellent books, supplemented with CDs, and internet-based courses exist for learning the mechanics of how to use GIS software. The numerous examples throughout the text provide readers with a viable connection between theory and practice. Given its brevity and concise writing style, the book will also work as a supplement to other real estate market analysis texts.
Thomas Kuhn noted that, for many fields of study, innovative and valuable ideas often come from individuals trained in other disciplines.3 In a composite field as diverse as real estate, it is sometimes difficult to determine which disciplines are "in" and which are "out." Whether considered to be inside or outside the field of real estate, geography often has not been in the real estate mainstream. Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis demonstrates that geography and its associated technology has much to offer the real estate field.
1. Grant I. Thrall, Business Geography and New Real Estate Market Analysis(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
2. Grant Ian Thrall, Land Use and Urban Form (New York: Methuen, Inc., 1987).
3. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, second edition, enlarged (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970).
Review of Grant Ian Thrall, Business Geography
and New Real Estate Market Analysis, Oxford University Press, New York
James A. LaGro, professor and chairperson of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Site Analysis: Linking Program and Concept in Land Planning and Design (John Wiley, 2001).
American Planning Association Journal - Summer 2003 - Vol 69,
No. 3, p.331
Journal of the American Planning Association - Summer 2003 - Vol 69, No. 3, p.331
This well-crafted book demonstrates a spatially explicit approach to real estate market analysis. The author clearly articulates basic principles of real estate location theory and the rationale for using this information in real estate business decisions. Thrall also convincingly demonstrates the utility of geographic information in real estate market analysis.
Real estate market analysts determine the demand for a particular type of real estate and the supply of competing real estate within geographically bounded trade areas. In Thrall's words, they evaluate "how a market composed of many different kinds of people will respond to a particular real estate product at a specific location" (p. 29). Human preferences, influenced by a variety of cultural and demographic factors, drive consumer behavior. And Thrall effectively addresses the influence of these preferences on real estate value and marketability.
Site conditions and site context also affect the financial viability of real estate projects and the spatial configuration of real estate market areas. In addition to considering a site's physiographic constraints and opportunities, real estate business decisions should take into account the effects of public policies, urban planning, and architectural design. A strength of this book is Thrall's cogent discussion of how these contextual issues influence real estate value.
Part I contains four chapters that explain important theories of urban land use and land value. These chapters provide an overview of real estate markets as well as Thrall's spatially explicit approach to real estate market analysis. Location theory (why businesses locate where they do) is explained concisely and with adequate references to the literature. Readers without a background in economics will find these chapters accessible. Part II consists of the remaining six chapters, which independently examine different real estate product types (residential, office, retail, industrial, hotel, and motel). Mixed-use development is also addressed. These chapters include tables, lists, and boxes that summarize a wide variety of information relevant to real estate decision making. Listed, for example, are important site and location characteristics for each product type.
Brief case studies are also included throughout the text. These effectively demonstrate the benefits of geographic information systems (GIS) in (1) estimating the demand for a particular real estate product at a specific site, and (2) estimating the supply of competing real estate within that site's market area. With GIS, for example, consumer access can be computed as a function of travel time to the development site (given the existing street network), tather than simply as a function of straight-line distance between the site and points within the market area. GIS maps and monitor displays appear throughout the book. These black and while illustrations, although small, effectively supplement the text.
Relatively cursory treatment is given to the principles, assumptions, and limitations of using GIS technology for real estate market analysis. Nevertheless, this well-written and clearly organized text makes a valuable contribution to the planning literature. Urban planners and designers in the private sector may find this book useful in marketing their services to the real estate development industry. Public-sector planners who review development proposals and help create development incentives may also find this book useful in their work. This text could also serve as a resource in both undergraduate and graduate courses on planning the built environment.
Review of Grant Ian Thrall, Business Geography and
New Real Estate Market Analysis, Oxford University Press, New York
Review by William Code, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario Canada
Professional Geographer - Summer 2003 - Vol 55, No. 3, p.399-400
For a discipline that, in one of its formulations, defines itself in terms of spatial organization, it is surprising how limited a relationship geography has had with real estate, a field that has long had as its operational cliché "location, location, location" and the processes of which are a dominant factor in the evolution of the human landscape. For the most part, geography has passed its appropriate role to land economics, business, land-use planning, and the increasing number of specialized real-estate programs. Fortunately, Grant Ian Thrall's latest book goes some distance toward repositioning geography as an important contributor to real-estate analysis. ... Generally, this tightly written book provides a fine overview of an expansive topic. Its assessment of basic urban land-use/land-valuation theory, spatial demographics, and the rudiments of urban dynamics are comprehensive but concise. In addition, the essential methodologies for operationalizing the theory, the data, and broader knowledge imparted by the book are well done. Its weaknesses are generally rooted in the vast scale of the problems the book addresses ... key words: business geography, market analysis, real estate
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