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Real Estate Economics
Fundamentals of Real Estate TEST 1
Terms in this set (74)
1. A market where tenants negotiate rent and other terms with property owners or their managers is referred to as a
2. The market in which required rates of return on available investment opportunities are determined is referred to as the:
3. The actions of local, state, and federal governments affect real estate values
all the above
4. Approximately what portion of U.S. households own their own home?
5. Of the following asset categories, which class has the greatest aggregate market value?
nongovernment real estate
6. Storm water drainage systems are best described as:
improvements to the land
7. What is the single largest asset category, in terms of value, in the portfolio of the typical U.S. household?
8. Real estate markets differ from other asset classes by having all of the following characteristics except:
9. Which of the following is not important to the location of commercial properties?
access to schools
Which of the following attributes of a home are the most difficult to observe and value?
1. The term real estate can be used in three fundamental ways. List these three alternative uses or definitions.
Real estate is most commonly defined as land and any improvements made to or on the land, including fixed structures and infrastructure components. The term is also used to describe the "bundle of rights" associated with the ownership and use of the physical characteristics of space and location. Finally, real estate may be described as the business activities related to the development, construction, acquisition, operation, and disposition of real property assets.
2. The U.S. represents about 6 percent of the earth's land service, or approximately 2.3 billion acres. Who actually owns this land? What is the distribution of this land among the various uses (e.g., developed land, federal, land, forest land).
Developed land, consisting of residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional land, represents approximately 6 percent of the total land in the U.S. Federal lands and water areas occupy about 23 percent of the land; crop land and CRP land represent about 21 percent; and pasture land comprises about 6 percent of the land. Finally, the remaining land is divided between range land and forest land, with each representing 21 percent of all U.S land.
3. Describe the value of U.S. real estate by comparing it to the values of other asset classes (e.g., stocks, bonds).
As of September 2005, real estate (including owner-occupied housing, but excluding real estate held by non-real estate corporations) was the single largest asset class in the U.S., valued at approximately $23.4 trillion. Publicly traded corporate equities equated to about $17.2 trillion of the U.S. market. The value of mortgage debt is approximately $11.1 trillion. This is larger than the existing stock of both corporate and foreign bonds and the outstanding value of U.S. Treasury Securities.
4. How much of the wealth of a typical U.S. household is tied up in real estate? How does this compare to the role that assets and investments play in the portfolios of U.S. households?
Real estate is the single largest asset in the typical U.S. household's portfolio, representing approximately 30 percent of household wealth in September of 2005. In comparison, the total value of corporate stocks and mutual fund shares represents 16 percent of household assets. Pension reserves, excluding stocks, represent 17 percent of household assets. Deposits and money market funds represent 9 percent of household assets.
5. Real estate assets and markets are unique when compared to other assets or markets. Discuss the primary ways that real estate markets are different from the markets for other asset that trade in well-developed public markets.
Real estate is unlike other asset classes because it is heterogeneous and immobile. Real estate assets have unique and distinctive characteristics, such as age, building design, and location. Real estate is also immobile; therefore, location is an important attribute. Because real estate assets are heterogeneous and immobile, real estate markets are localized. Potential users of real property and competing real estate are typically located in the same area or region. Additionally, real estate markets are highly segmented because of their heterogeneous nature. Therefore, potential users of a specific type of real property generally do not seek to substitute one property category for another. Finally, most real estate transactions are privately negotiated and have relatively high transaction costs.
6. Explain the role of government in real estate at the federal, state, and local level. Which has the most significant impact on real estate markets?
Local government has the most influence on real estate markets. It affects the supply and cost of real estate through zoning and land use regulations, fees on new land development, and restrictive building codes. It also affects rental rates through the assessment of property taxes. Finally, local government affects the supply and quality of real estate through the provision of community infrastructure and through building codes. The Federal government influences real estate through income tax policy, housing subsidy programs, federal financial reporting requirements, fair housing laws, and disclosure laws. State government generally has the least influence on real estate. State government affects real estate through the licensing of real estate professionals, establishment of statewide building codes, the creation of fair housing and disclosure laws, and through numerous housing related subsides for low and moderate income households. In addition, the state may protect some environmentally sensitive lands from development.
7. Identify and describe the interaction of the three economic sectors that affect real estate value.
The three economic sectors that influence real estate value are user markets, capital markets, and government. In real estate user markets, households and firms compete for physical location and space. This competition determines who will obtain the use of a specific property and how much will be paid for the use of this property. Capital markets provide the financial resources necessary for the development and acquisition of real estate assets. Real estate competes for resources against other investment opportunities in the capital market based on investor required rates of returns and risk considerations. Capital markets are segregated into two categories: equity interests and debt interests. Government influences the interaction between the user markets and capital markets through tax policy, regulations, provisions of services and infrastructure, subsidies and other means.
8. Real estate construction is a volatile process determined by the interaction of the user and capital markets. What signals do real estate producers use to manage this process? What other factors affect the volatility of real estate production?
When real estate market prices exceed the cost of production, this signals producers to build, or add additional supply. As the supply of real estate increases, rental rates decline in the user market, which lowers property values and signals the real estate market to slow the production of real estate. Furthermore, shocks in the capital markets and the volatility of construction costs add to the volatility of real estate production. For example, higher interest rates adversely affect property values, all else equal, thereby reducing the attractiveness of new construction. Additionally, shortages of key building materials and organized labor disputes may contribute to the volatility of real estate production.
1. Which of the following is not a form of property right?
2. Which of these easements is most likely to be an easement in gross?
power line easement
3. Rules used by courts to determine whether something is a fixture include all except:
law of capture
which of the following is a titled estate
all the above
5. Which of these forms of co-ownership could best be described as "normal ownership," except that multiple owners share identically in one bundle of rights?
which of these liens has the highest priority
property tax lien
1. Explain how rights differ from power or force, and from permission.
Rights have three characteristics. First, rights are claims or demands that our government is obligated to enforce. Second, rights are nonrevocable and cannot be canceled, ignored, or otherwise lessened by other private citizens. Third, rights are enduring and do not fade away with time.
Rights are different from power because the government is obligated to honor and support the claims arising from rights. Government will not support claims without right, based merely on the use of force or threat. The government is obligated to defend property rights in subsequent generations, and it does not have the power to abandon this obligation.
Unlike permission, which is revocable, rights are nonrevocable and cannot be taken away or lessened in stature by other private citizens.
2. A developer of a subdivision wants to preserve the open space and natural habitat that runs along the back portion of a series of large lots in the proposed subdivision. He is debating whether to use restrictive covenants to accomplish this or to create a habitat easement on the same space. What are the pros and cons of each choice?
A developer may choose to use restrictive covenants to limit the use of the land for environmental purposes, while maintaining the quality, stability, and value of the surrounding lots. Restrictive covenants are strictly private because only parties of interest can enforce the covenant. In the case of an isolated deed restriction, the owner who created the restriction or that owner's heirs are the only persons who can enforce the restriction.
Court decisions frequently follow common law, which holds that property should be used productively, and favor fewer restrictions over the use of land. Whether the restriction is in an isolated deed or part of a general set of subdivision restrictions, the courts have been reluctant to maintain them for an unreasonably long time. Even in states where no time limit exists, courts may refuse to enforce restrictions due to changing neighborhood character, abandonment (neglect of enforcement), and changing public policy. In most states, it is difficult to maintain individual restrictive covenants for more than a few decades, and several states have enacted time limits of 20 years or so.
On the other hand, the developer may choose to use a habitat easement on the property. A habitat easement can limit the use of the land for the specific purpose of protecting the environment. An easement in gross, defined as the right to use land for a specific, limited purpose unrelated to any adjacent parcel, will achieve the developer's objective. The easement can be transferred to another owner without the transfer of a parcel of land. The easement is less likely to "fade away." Courts are more likely to honor and protect the easement than a neglected restrictive covenant.
3. Why are restrictive covenants a good idea for a subdivision? Can they have any detrimental effects on the subdivision or its residents? For example are there any listed in the chapter that might have questionable effects on value of a residence?
Restrictive covenants are used most often in subdivision developments to ensure the quality, stability, and value of the lots. However, they can sometimes have detrimental effects on the subdivision. For example, adding a free standing garage or a chain link fence to one's residence may ideally increase the value, but the existence of restrictive covenants may limit a homeowner's ability to increase the property's value in that manner. Excessive restrictive covenants may diminish the property's value by effectively reducing the rights of the owner. Restrictive covenants may also become obsolete if the character of the neighborhood changes and hinder a property owner's rights.
4. The traditional common law concept of landlord-tenant relationship was that the landlord's obligation was simply to stay off the property and the tenant's obligation was to pay the rent. Explain why this is an obsolete arrangement for apartment residents in an urban society.
Historically, the common law application of a landlord-tenant relationship centered on agrarian relationships formed in pre-industrial England. Modern society views residential tenancy as the provision of services. It can be difficult or impossible for one tenant, alone, in an apartment complex to control pests or repair a roof, etc. Thus, the obligation of the landlord must be more than merely to "stay away" from the property. States have enacted elaborate residential landlord-tenant laws that take great strides in defining the rights and obligations of both parties under a residential lease. Laws address such matters as obligations for care and repair of the premises, rights of entry, handling of deposits, notification requirements, and many other matters.
5. A friend has an elderly mother who lives in a house adjacent to her church. The church is growing, and would welcome the opportunity to obtain her house for its use. She would like to support the needs of her church, but she does not want to move and feels strongly about owning her own home. On the other hand, your friend knows that she will not be able to remain in the house many more years, and will be faced with moving and selling within a few years. What options can you suggest as possible plans to explore?
One possible option is to unbundle the fee simple absolute into an ordinary life estate and remainder estate. The church can purchase a remainder estate while the owner retains a life estate. The owner thereby receives either additional income or, if the remainder is donated, a tax deduction. This simplifies the eventual settlement of her estate, while assuring the continued right to occupy her home. At the time of her death the remainder estate becomes a complete fee simple absolute owned by the church. Another possible option is an outright sale to the church and the creation of a tenancy for years in which the elderly mother rents the property from the church, creating a leasehold estate for a period of time.
6. A friend has owned and operated a small recreational vehicle camp on a lake in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is close to the ocean and close to the Daytona Speedway, home of the Daytona 500 and a host of other prominent races. The occupants are very loyal, making reservations far in advance, and returning year after year. She is asking your thoughts on whether to continue the camp as a short-term rental operation, or to convert it and sell the parking spaces as condominium parking spaces, or to convert to condominium time-share lots. What thoughts would you offer?
Maintaining ownership of the small recreational vehicle camp provides the owner continued control of the property, but she also retains responsibility for property management and expenses associated with running the camp. Converting the space to condominium parking would require an effective transfer of the property from your friend to the condominium association. The land on the lake would no longer belong to your friend, and she would lose any future use of the land. In addition, bylaws and a condominium declaration must be created. Time-share lots would divide the estate into separate time intervals. By creating timeshare condominium lots in a tenancy for years, the land could revert to your friend after a set number of years.
7. In the United States, the bundle of rights called real property seems to have gotten smaller in recent decades. Explain what has caused this. Why is it good? Why is it bad?
The bundle of rights has gotten smaller in recent decades because of the government's increased use of its police power. The government has the duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the American people. Additionally, after the 1970's, the consciousness of "Spaceship Earth" alerted many Americans to environmental concerns and the potential adverse environmental and ecological effects of some land uses. On the other hand, excessive regulations interfere with property owners' rights to do as they please with their property. If the exercise of police power goes too far, it becomes a "taking," which requires just compensation.
1. Which of these is not a requirement of a valid deed?
2. The interest being conveyed by a deed is specified in the:
3. The "highest quality" form of deed is the:
general warrantee deed
4. A deed used mainly to clear up possible "clouds" or encumbrances to title (conflicting interests) is the:
5. If a landowner sells the front part of a parcel of land, retaining the back portion as a "land-locked" parcel, and if there is an existing informal path across the front parcel to the back one, the seller is likely to retain the path as a (an):
Implied easement by prior use.
6. If a neighboring land owner drives across a person's land openly and consistently for a number of years the neighbor may acquire an easement by:
7. If documents conveying interests in real property are properly recorded in the public records, then they are binding or enforceable on all persons, regardless of whether those persons are aware of the documents, by the:
Doctrine of constructive notice.
8. Which of these is a widely used form of "evidence of title
Title insurance commitment.
9. The most common form of legal description for urban residential property is the:
Plat lot and block number.
10. Factors that make it uniquely difficult to establish clear title in real estate as compared to most personal property items include:
Length of the ownership history in real estate.
1. Explain how title insurance works. What risks does it cover? Who pays, and when? What common exceptions does it make?
Title insurance protects an owner (or lender) from legal challenges or complications with title. Title insurance protects a grantee (or mortgagee) against the legal costs of defending title, and against loss of the property in case of an unsuccessful defense. It cannot save a title that is genuinely false. However, it indemnifies the policyholder against litigation costs, and compensation for loss of the property, should that occur. In many localities it is customary for the seller to pay for title insurance, though this is negotiable. For a mortgage policy protecting a lender, the borrower pays.
There are important limits or exceptions to title insurance. First, it is not hazard insurance; that is, it does not protect the owner from the threat of physical damage to the property. It only protects against legal attack on the owner's title. Second, title insurance typically excepts any facts that would be revealed by an inspection and survey of the property.
2. If a grantee obtains title insurance, what value, if any, is there in the covenant of seizen in a warranty deed?
If a grantee has title insurance, the covenant of seizing remains an indication that the grantor really believes that they hold good title. The title insurer can still bring action against the grantor of a false title, even though the grantee has been indemnified for loss of title and property.
3. The use of Torrens certificates, never large in the U.S., has diminished in recent years. Explain how marketable title laws, recently adopted in many states, might have made Torrens certificates less interesting and useful.
The idea of a Torrens certificate was to eliminate the need for a search of historical public records to affirm chain of title. Marketable title laws may have accomplished this objective in that they usually establish a "root" transaction that generally is taken for face value as the status of title at that time (say, 30 years earlier). Unless there is evidence to the contrary, title search need not reach back earlier than the "root" transaction. Thus, much of the value of the Torrens certificate is accomplished without the administrative costs of maintaining an elaborate certificate updating process.
4. Name at least six adverse (conflicting) claims to property or other title defects, that will not be evident from a search of property records but which might be detected by inspection of the property and its occupants.
Six adverse or conflicting claims to property that will not appear in a search of records include these: (1) claim to adverse possession, (2) easement by prescription, (3) easement of necessity, (4) easement by estoppel, (5) leasehold claim, and (6) easement for extraction of crops or mineral rights.
5. Why might it be advisable to require a survey in purchasing a 20-year-old home in an urban subdivision?
A survey can be useful, even in a fairly recent subdivision, to affirm that fences are not encroaching, or that an addition to a structure does not violate a setback. In addition, it is generally good for a purchaser to know the boundaries of the acquired property because often fences and shrubs can create false impressions of boundary locations.
6. Describe the shaded property by government rectangular survey.
The East one-half of the SW one-fourth of the NW one fourth, plus the south one half of the NW one-fourth of the NW one fourth of section 14, Tier 11S and Range 21E
7. Some real estate industry persons have suggested that it is good to require a title Insurance commitment as evidence of title for rural property, but that it satisfactory to use the less costly abstract and attorney's opinion as evidence of title for a residence in an urban subdivision. Discuss the merits or risks of this policy.
A platted urban subdivision effectively has a relatively short history in which title could become "clouded." The creation of the subdivision, by implication, represents a point in time where there was very little question about the status of title. Thus, only what has happened to the property subsequently may put marketable title at risk. This greatly shortens the portion of the title history that may contain threats to title. Thus, title insurance may not be as valuable as with unplatted land.
1. Zoning is an exercise of which type of general limitation on property rights?
2. A comprehensive plan usually deals with which of the following elements?
all the above
3. Property taxes are a main source of revenue for:
Both local governments and school districts.
4. The authority for approving site plans for large projects ultimately rests with the:
The elected governing commission or council.
5. The most accurate conclusion about the regessivity of the property tax is that it is:
Regressive, but when benefits are considered, the net result is not regressive
6. Traditional land use controls (pre-1970) include:
. All three: a, b, and c.
7. Radon gas is:
A naturally occurring result of geologic activity.
8. "New urbanism" is a term used to describe:
The theory that residential and commercial uses should be integrated, streets and
parking should discourage through traffic, and neighborhoods should be pedestrian oriented..
9. Elements of traditional zoning include all except:
10. Externalities in land use include all except:
Inability to judge the quality of a structure, once built.
1. Assume that you own a small apartment building close to a major commercial street and a service station. You learn that there has been a major leak of underground storage tanks from the service station, and the gasoline has spread onto and below the surface of your property. Discuss sources of value loss to your property from the contamination.
Most importantly, as the owner, you might be responsible for the cleanup on the property despite not causing the contamination. Second, the potential resale value is reduced because the site is contaminated. Further, the site may be tarnished in the future, even if the hazardous materials were cleaned up
2. A local businessman has applied for a permit to construct a bar that will feature "adult dancing" in a commercially zoned area across the street from your residential subdivision. As an owner of a $250,000 house within the subdivision, would you favor or oppose this development? What effect do you think it could have on the value of your property? If you were opposed, how could you fight approval of the permit?
Constructing an adult establishment near a residential area creates a negative externality to the surrounding neighborhood. The development will adversely affect home values in the residential subdivision. Opponents to the approval of the permit should argue that zoning laws should exist to protect the value and stability of single-family subdivisions, and homes unprotected by zoning risk a loss in property value if the business locates nearby. Various restrictions exist within the commercial zoning classification, and the adult bar should only be permitted in specific zoned areas that are located away from residential areas.
3. A medium-size city has proposed to build a "greenway" along a creek that flows through the center of the city. The city wants to clear a strip about 50 feet wide and construct a paved path for bicycles and foot traffic (walkers and joggers). Proponents claim that it would be a highly desirable recreational facility for the community, while a very vocal and insistent group of opponents claims that it would degrade the environment and open properties along the creek to undesirable users and influences.
Identify some specific positive and negative aspects of the proposal. Would you be in favor of the proposal, if you lived in the city? Would it make a difference if you lived along the creek?
Positive aspects of the greenway include economic growth of an area and a recreational facility for the community. Negative aspects include increased pollution, noise, traffic and possibly crime. In addition, it is unclear what would happen to property values along the creek. The city needs to demonstrate that the proposed project will not degrade the environment. If I lived in the city, I would be in favor of the proposal because of the increased recreational opportunities. If I lived along the creek, I would not be in favor of the proposal because I am not sure how the "greenway" will affect my property's value and my security.
4. The main argument traditionally advanced in favor of zoning is that it protects property values. Do you believe this contention? If so, how does zoning protect property values? If you do not believe the contention, why not?
Zoning protects property values by ensuring that an undesirable land use will not exist in a residential or other non-compatible area. Zoning is intended to add predictability and stability to the land uses in an area. However, if a zoning plan conflicts with the natural economic land use pattern, it can cause inefficient distortions in land use. For example, zoning laws may force household services such as grocery stores, delicatessens or hair salons to be excessively distant from residential neighborhoods.
5. Do you believe that the owners of properties contaminated by events that occur on another property (gasoline leakage or spills, for example) should be responsible for cleaning up their properties? Why or why not? If not, who should pay for the cleanup?
Although the law currently states that a property owner is responsible for any hazardous material on the site, there are many reasons for arguing that the contaminator should be responsible for the cleanup. Under the current law, innocent parties are hurt by the actions of others, which seems inequitable. For example, a property owner may not even be aware of how a nearby property owner is contaminating the land. However, from a broader public policy perspective, it is easier to hold the current property owner accountable for the condition of a property. Furthermore, such a requirement encourages potential purchasers of property to undertake the necessary due diligence prior to committing to a real estate purchase.
6. The property tax has been criticized as an unfair base for financing public schools. Areas that have high property values are able to pay for better schools than areas having lower property values. Thus, there is an inequality of education opportunities that tends to perpetuate educational and social disadvantages for those who live in low-income areas.
a. Do you agree or disagree?
b. How could school financing be modified to provide more equal funding among all regions of a state?
Utilizing property tax revenue to finance public schooling may create an inequality of education opportunities, assuming that the difference in tax revenue between wealthy and lower-income communities is not offset by other sources of revenue. This issue is further complicated by the fact that property values are local by nature and vary from community to community. School financing could be modified to a more standardized and equitable methodology, such as a statewide taxation and funding system rather than a local system. However, statewide school funding may tend to reduce local autonomy in schools, an adverse effect from the view of those school districts that are relatively self-sufficient. Countering this concern is the argument that citizens everywhere in a state benefit as the quality of the poorest educational opportunity is raised.
7. A property tax owner who owes 8 mills in school taxes, 10 mills in city taxes, and 5 mills in county taxes and who qualifies for a $25,000 homestead exemption would owe how much tax on a property assessed at $80,000?
Assessed Value $80,000
Less: Homestead Exemption ($25,000)
Taxable Value $55,000
Less: Taxing Authority Levies Millage Rate Taxes Levied
School district 8.00 $440
City 10.0 $550
County 5.00 $275
Total 23.0 $1,265
1. The "gravity" that draws economic activity into clusters is:
Demand for access or proximity.
2. Spatial or distance relationships that are important to a land use are called its:
4. The economic base multiplier of a city tends to be greater if the city is:
5. The best example of a base economic activity would be a:
Regional sales office.
6. Important supply factors affecting a city's growth or growth potential include all except the:
a. Unemployment rate.
7. Which of these are true about agglomeration economies?
All of the above.
8. Which of these influences will decrease the level of a bid-rent curve at the center of the city?
Faster travel time.
9. In a system of bid-rent curves, assuming that households are identical except for the feature noted, which of these prospective bidders will bid successfully for the sites nearest to the CBD?
Households with the greatest number of commuting workers.
10. A large university is an example of what kind of economic phenomenon?
Industry economies of scale.
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