GY472      Half Unit
Real Estate Investment

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Xiaolun Yu


This course is available on the MSc in Real Estate Economics and Finance. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Entry into the MSc Real Estate Economics and Finance or by request from other qualified MSc students. Those qualified will already have knowledge of economics equivalent to a good first degree in the subject. 

Course content

The objective of this course is to educate students in the tools for evaluating real estate investment decisions and in incorporating the insights from urban economics to improve the profitability of their investments. The course will begin with a brief introduction to standard methods in evaluating risk and return in real estate investment and development. We will then discuss empirical techniques for identifying the impact of a shift in the demand or supply of space on the risk and return of an investment. From there, we will examine the theory and evidence for variation in risk and return within and across cities, as well as the institutional factors that create cross-country variation in investment outcomes. We will then discuss the construction of REITS, their ability to diversify across geography, and their performance. The remainder of the course will dive deeper into evaluating the impact of major emerging trends in urban economics on investment valuations that outperform spatially blind evaluations. Assessment for the course will center on valuation of a mixed-use retail property in London. A field trip to tour the property and surrounding urban enviornment may occur during the term.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures, in-person lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops across Lent Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the LT.

In their first essay, students will work in their groups to conduct the quantitative analysis for a case study using the stadard tools in real estate investment. Each student will prepare a 1000 word essay based on this quatitative work, analyzing the assumptions and methods used and the results. The second essay will also be 1000 words and center on assessing the students ability to incorporate urban economic theory and emprical research into their valuation.These formative exercises closely match the style and structure of the summative coursework. 

Indicative reading

  • Archer, Wayne R., and David C. Ling. "The three dimensions of real estate markets: Linking space, capital, and property markets." Real Estate Finance 14.3 (1997): 5-11.
  • Brueggeman, W. B. and J. D. Fisher (2005) Real Estate Finance & Investments (13th edition or newer), New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
  • Clayton, Jim, David C. Ling, and Andy Naranjo. "Commercial real estate valuation: fundamentals versus investor sentiment." The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics 38.1 (2009): 5-37.
  • Hoesli, Martin, Elion Jani, and André Bender. "Monte Carlo simulations for real estate valuation." Journal of Property Investment & Finance 24.2 (2006): 102-122.
  • Gunnelin, Åke, et al. "Determinants of cross sectional variation in discount rates, growth rates and exit cap rates." Real Estate Economics 32.2 (2004): 217-237.
  • Gyourko, Joseph, and Edward Nelling. "Systematic risk and diversification in the equity REIT market." Real Estate Economics 24.4 (1996): 493-515.
  • Lieser, Karsten, and Alexander Peter Groh. "The determinants of international commercial real estate investment." The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics 48.4 (2014): 611-659.
  • Plazzi, Alberto, Walter Torous, and Rossen Valkanov. "Expected returns and expected growth in rents of commercial real estate." The Review of Financial Studies 23.9 (2010): 3469-3519.
  • Sivitanidou, Rena. "Urban spatial variations in office-commercial rents: the role of spatial amenities and commercial zoning." Journal of urban Economics 38.1 (1995): 23-49.
  • Daníelsson, Jón. Financial risk forecasting: the theory and practice of forecasting market risk with implementation in R and Matlab. Vol. 588. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the ST Week 1.

The summative essay will be 3500 words and count for 100% of the student's final grade. It will center on assessing the students' ability to produce empirical estimates of the impact of shifts in demand and supply for commercial real estate using data and rigourous methods that they incorporate into their evaluation of an investment proposal's risk and return. The valuation should also contain other relevant estimates from the literature and justification for assumptions based on empirical evidence.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills