Real Estate Decision Making

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SURP 841: Real Estate Decision Making
Fall 2011


John S. Andrew, Ph.D., M CIP, RPP
Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 525 613-533-6000 ext. 75756

Session Time: Mondays, 11:30 am - 2:20 pm
Session Room: Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554
Overview of the Course
The course is an introduction to the concepts, principles and analytical methods involved in making the broad variety of key investment decisions regarding commercial real estate. It is designed to supplement, rather than replace SURP 844: Real Estate Project Planning. Therefore, the emphasis of this course is on commercial real estate investment rather than development.
However, some elements of the latter will inevitably be addressed. The focus will be on fullyoperational income-generating properties, primarily large in scale. The main asset types of office, industrial, retail and multi-unit residential will be discussed (and possibly a few more specialized types). Another emphasis of the course will be on the micro level – the evaluation of the investment merits of individual properties (or at least individual transactions). Less attention will be paid to the macro level i.e. portfolio management. To the extent possible, the course content (including readings, cases and assignments) will be Canadian (although it is recognized that real estate investment is increasingly a global endeavor).
This is primarily a combination seminar and case study course. It is designed around a cornerstone of five carefully chosen guest speakers, who will each address their specific area of expertise within commercial real estate investment. Course readings, case studies, exercises and assignments complement the guest lectures. With its “hands-on” practical orientation, this course provides many opportunities to put theory into practice with various exercises simulating the real world of commercial real estate investment.
While there are no prerequisites for this course (other than a keen interest in the subject area), students should be reasonably comfortable working with numbers. For the most part, the mathematical calculations involved in real estate analysis are very straightforward. There will be a moderately heavy (but interesting) reading load (with which students are expected to keep up) and frequent short exercises.

SURP 841 - Fall 2011 – Course Outline

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Course Format
The three-hour weekly sessions will generally each consist of two components (which may take place in either order):

A lecture approximately 80 minutes in duration, given by a guest speaker or the instructor;
The remaining time given to discussion of case studies, group exercises, or discussion of assigned questions; designed to allow students to make the transition from theory to practice, and to try out newly learned skills and analytical techniques.

Required Readings and Cases
In order to provide the best set of readings for this course, and to minimize the cost to students, there is no textbook to buy. Instead, weekly readings are available on the course gmail account.
Students may log onto using the password provided in class. Each reading is attached to an email message, in pdf format. Please take care not to delete any message. The
Schedule of Session Topics beginning on the next page lists the required readings for each session. Four of the five case studies used in this course are published by the Harvard School of Business.
Soft copies (in .pdf format) must be purchased by each student as a “coursepack”, at: The cost is approximately US$16. Students will be provided a soft copy of Case 4 (“CREIT”) from the Ivey School of Business at no charge.
In order to get the most from this course, it is important that all assigned readings and any