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Why Study Real Estate?

Real estate touches everything we do. Our lives are shaped by the built environment around us. We live in it, work in it and play in it. Studying real estate opens up a wide range of career opportunities in investment, development, banking, property & land management, brokerage, fund management and as well as in related fields like economic development and public policy. The variety of real estate sectors also adds to the variety of career options. Offices, industrial, retail and hotels all have unique characteristics that differ from those seen in both housing and multifamily markets. In addition, considerable growth has been seen in recent years in sectors as diverse as healthcare, life sciences, data centers, seniors housing, infrastructure and timber.

It is at times easy to forget how important real estate is to our lives. In an investment context not only is housing the largest single asset for many households, but real estate is one of the largest asset classes in the world. It is the original alternative asset class to stocks and bonds and continues to play an important role in major institutional investment portfolios. The value of professionally managed real estate globally is over $11 trillion and over 40% of that is in the America's. For many banks real estate lending, commercial and residential, is the largest single component of their loan books, while recent decades have seen the increased importance of the capital markets and vehicles such as Real Estate Investment Trusts and Mortgage Back Securities. The financial crisis of 2008 highlighted how important real estate is; economically, financially, and socially. It is more important than ever for real estate professionals to have a comprehensive knowledge base, combining technical financial skills with an awareness of the underlying economics of real estate markets and an appreciation of public policy issues.

One of real estate's key defining features is that it is far more than an investment and financial asset. It is a real asset that is core to economic development, and it is a social asset, especially in the context of housing. The challenges many communities are seeing in affordability highlight the central role real estate plays in society. In addition, issues such as demographic and climate change highlight how real estate has a wide ranging impact. These are all key issues that real estate professionals have to face and address in the ever changing and complex real estate environment of the 21st century.

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