Thursday, May 27, 2010

Connect with us on Facebook and you could win!

If you’re on Facebook, you can head on over to our new Graaskamp Center fan page. It’s a quick and easy way to stay up-to-date on the events and happenings of the Graaskamp Center and connect with alumni and students. You can also post photos, give us feedback on what we’re doing, and more! Be our 50th fan and you’ll win a Wisconsin Real Estate hat!

Of course, if you’re not all that into Facebook, that’s ok too. You can always stay in the loop by coming back to this blog, signing up for our e-newsletter The Real Estate Connection, visiting our website, or following us on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Speaking the facts at the Wisconsin Real Estate and Economic Outlook Conference June 4th

Our annual conference on Wisconsin real estate and the economy is coming up on Friday June 4th. The theme is "Navigating the Credit Crunch: What's Ahead for Wisconsin?"--a must for housing and real estate professionals, government and non-profit professionals, builders and developers, housing finance professionals and anyone interested in community development. You can review the agenda and register online at our website at

Today we talked with Associate Professor Morris Davis, former Federal Reserve economist now at now UW-Madison real estate and urban land economics, about the conference keynote speaker David Altig, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

"David is a great economist, highly regarded as one of the best economists in the Fed.

He will likely talk about what the recovery will look like, how quickly the Fed will tighten monetary policy (the so-called "exit strategy") and about what's going on in Europe.

He and his colleagues write a great blog: Macroblog, which if you aren't already reading, you should. David speaks the facts as best we know them and communicates them without a lot of "gobbledygook."

He'll tell people the way things are, the way he sees it. He's a really good guy!"

Don't miss David and the rest of the amazing lineup of speakers at this year's conference. Register by Thursday May 27th at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer reading

Reading for Life by Stephen Malpezzi, Professor and Lorin and Marjorie Tiefenthaler Distinguished Chair in Real Estate

Want to take a little time out from tweeting, unplug your iPod, close up Facebook, shut down your blog, and … read a book?

I recently updated my Urban Economics course Reading for Life list (undergrad, Real Estate 420; master's level, Real Estate 720). These are mostly books, but I will recommend a few periodicals, journal articles, and even blogs.

Over the course of the summer, we'll pass along some recommendations from the list. Of course, just because a book is listed here, even if it's one of my special favorites, doesn't imply I agree with the author. Whether you, or I, agree with an author or not, always read with our class motto in mind--Don't be a sap. And stay tuned for future posts where we'll share more book picks and possibly our Class Slogan and Class Mantra.

Let's start with a couple of books that were mentioned during the recent spring meeting of our Board of Advisors:

Thaler, Richard H. The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life. Princeton University Press, 1992.

This book shows how recent theoretical advances in game theory help us understand real world issues in bidding, etc. If you think you'll be buying or selling real estate – or anything else – in your future career, read it.

Reinhardt, Carmen M. and Kenneth S. Rogoff. This Time Is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises. Princeton University Press, 2009.

Note the IRONY in the title. This is a masterful work of scholarship.

I update this several times a year. I’m always interested in what students and alums are reading along these lines as well. Please share your feedback in the comments below.

Previous Reading for Life highlights include In Fed We Trust.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Visit us at ICSC RECon!

Register to attend the reception with the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA) or just stop by. We'd love to see you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wisconsin's real estate and economic outlook

Registration is well underway for our annual real estate conference on June 4th in Madison. The theme this year is "Navigating the Credit Crunch: What's Ahead for Wisconsin?" Today we talked with the Graaskamp Center's Academic Director Stephen Malpezzi on the highlights of the event:

"It's been clear for some time that the slow economy has been driven by first the housing market and now commercial real estate markets. If you're concerned about the economic outlook, this conference is the place to be.

We have speakers who are not only experts on the connection between housing and the real estate markets but macroeconomic thought leaders as well--our keynote speaker David Altig from the Atlanta Fed and Matt Feldman with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.

We have top academics and people who are deep experts in practice, like Scott Fecteau at Associated Bank and Tim Hanna, longtime mayor of Appleton who is active on the state scene with new ideas on how state and local governments can connect more productively. Politics and economics are more connected than ever (see TARP, TALF, etc.). We're very excited to have Ken Goldstein to talk about how the political landscape effects housing and the economy.

We have the state's leading expert outside government on Wisconsin's fiscal situation Todd Barry (Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance), and we have five leading economists, including Michael Knetter, dean of the Wisconsin School of Business, on a single panel in a unique rapid-fire Q&A.

If you want to be part of the dialogue on real estate and the economy, you should attend this conference."

See the full agenda and register by Thursday May 27th at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Graaskamp Center goes "On the Road" in Madison

Board members and guests are invited join us for the Graaskamp Center on the Road Roundtable Luncheon scheduled for June 3 at the Fluno Center in Madison. This invitation-only event is designed to provide thought-provoking dialogue on critical industry issues and outstanding networking opportunities for our members and invited guests.

The title of the program is "Not Out Of The Woods Yet: The Precarious State of the Real Estate Lending Community." Many real estate practitioners have taken the view that real estate debt markets are, again, largely up and running. Tim Hadro, a 35-year veteran real estate lender, formerly of JP Morgan and principal and co-founder of Loan Management Solutions (LMS), an advisory firm to financial institutions, does not have such a sanguine view. According to Mr. Hadro, even the nation's strongest lenders will need 3 to 4 years to repair their balance sheets and real estate professionals should prepare for an entirely new lending environment.

Michael Brennan, Executive Director of the Graaskamp Center, will moderate what's sure to be a lively session. Discussion and Q & A will follow the presentation and lunch. Stephen Malpezzi, Academic Director of the Graaskamp Center, will also be on hand to give attendees an update on the many events and happenings of the Wisconsin Real Estate Program.

For more information on the event email Lee Gottschalk at by Tuesday, June 2. If you would like to invite a guest to the luncheon, please check with Lee in advance.

Photo by Jeff Miller © UW-Madison University Communications

Friday, May 14, 2010

Does eco-labeling drive office occupancy rates?

Recently the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published a research paper on the effect of eco-labeling in commercial real estate. Awareness and visibility of environmental standards in building has increased, and so has pressure on and by tenants to make decisions based on environmental criteria. In the paper, the EPA's Energy Star and US Green Building Council's LEED program are analyzed for links between eco-labeling and occupancy rates in the U.S.

...there is some evidence that suggests that eco-labeled offices will have lower vacancy rates than comparable non-labeled offices."

Overall, the results suggest there is an occupancy premium of approximately 8% for LEED-labeled offices, and that this premium exists at most levels of occupancy. For Energy Star label offices, the occupancy rate premium is lower at 3%, with the effect being concentrated in offices of relatively low levels of occupation.

Eco-labeling in Commercial Real Estate Markets, RICS

What do you think? Is there a premium placed on environmentally-friendly office properties? Have you had to choose between eco-labeled office space and non-labeled, and what did you choose? Add your thoughts in the Comments below.

RICS is a prominent worldwide organization for professionals in property, land, construction and related environmental issues. With regional offices on six different continents, the organization calls for its members to "maintain and promote the usefulness of the profession for the public advantage" through providing challenging technical standards for credentialed members, offering training and continuing education opportunities, and advising organizations on best practice standards. Wisconsin Real Estate's BBA and MBA programs were granted accreditation this spring.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Graaskamp's research still relevant today

As the city of Madison considers the development of rail transportation, reporter Marc Eisen at the weekly Isthmus looked to the work of James A. Graaskamp, specifically to a study he did of the east and west rail corridors 27 years ago.

The legendary Jim Graaskamp, aka "The Chief," was a leader and innovator in real estate research, and his work is still relevant today. Thanks to the support of the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA) and the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) and the tireless work of our faculty associate Sharon McCabe and others, Graaskamp's work has been preserved and made available online.

"James Graaskamp was a visionary in the real estate industry. His market research and valuation analysis were ahead of their time," said McCabe.

The Digital James A. Graaskamp Landmark Research Collection includes reports, appraisals, market and feasibilty studies as well as other types of research and analysis.

Click to visit the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections to learn more about the pioneering and timeless work of real estate icon James A. Graaskamp.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Morris A. Davis awarded tenure

We are pleased to announce that Morris A. Davis was voted tenure at the Wisconsin School of Business. Davis, who has been a faculty member in the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics since 2006, is a prolific researcher. His research provides critical new insights into the interaction between housing markets and the macroeconomy. He is also already known and respected for inventing a methodology to compute land prices. Read more in our May newsletter.

Congratulations, Morris!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A look back

Meet Our Current Students

As the year winds down, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the last nine months in the Wisconsin MBA program. I have certainly learned a lot about a wide variety of topics. I will leave school for my internship this summer more knowledgeable about real estate finance and appraisal, as well as operations and marketing, which will certainly help impress my boss and earn me a full time job.

I have also had the opportunity to travel, both domestically and internationally, to Washington, DC with the Real Estate Club and to Cannes, France for MIPIM to discover how the real estate market works in regions I was previously unfamiliar with. These new perspectives will help me consider new alternatives and explore new ideas that will help me thrive in the good times and, hopefully, survive the next “worst recession since the great depression.”

But most importantly, I have developed contacts and forged relationships with a variety of interesting people. From my fellow classmates to our guest speakers and the industry leaders at MIPIM, I have met so many people who will enrich my life. Whether they consider investing in my latest project, give me guidance on which avenue to take on my career, or just accompany me down to the shell to play basketball, I am better off for having spent this year at UW.
So as I finish off my last blog post of the term, I would like to wish everyone the best of luck with their endeavors this summer, and I look forward to seeing everyone again--along with some new faces--in the fall.

Jeff Swhier is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business. He moved back to the Midwest from NYC to take a position in a property management company and plans to return there after completing his degree.

Photo by Jeff Miller © UW-Madison University Communications