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I am pleased to say that the newest member of GREG recently won an award for her Ph.D. thesis entitled “Three Essays in Residential Real Estate Topics: An Examination of Rental Tenure, Green Residential Construction Policy and Green Residential Rental Rates”.  Avis Devine received the Aareal Award of Excellence in Real Estate Research  from the Real Estate Management Institute (REMI) of the EBS Business School and Aareal Bank AG.  She traveled to Wiesbaden (near Frankfurt, Germany) to be recognized publicly at the EBS Real Estate Congress.

While the title of the thesis may not appear on a best seller list in the near future, its ideas demand attention.  Quoting from her abstract, here are brief summaries of three of her ideas:

  • “Most United States metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) saw their house prices plummet during the recent Great Recession.  While many areas are only now pulling away from their lowest house prices in recent history, other MSAs were well on their way to house price recovery in 2010.  One attribute which separates these early winners is their rental tenure.  MSAs with higher rental tenure possess a type of occupancy flexibility (modeled as a real option), allowing these areas more liquidity in their housing market which provides the opportunity for quicker house price recovery.  I find an economically and statistically significant relationship between increased rental tenure and house price recovery for 2006 through 2010, and specifically for 2009-2010.  These findings are robust to a wide variety of house price fundamentals.
  • “There is an active and growing literature examining the rental rate, sales price, and occupancy premiums associated with sustainable or energy efficient certified real estate.  To date, the focus has rested largely on office properties and for sale single family residential properties.  We examine the rental rates achieved by green multifamily properties, providing the first look at the population of LEED market-rate apartments in the United States.  We find an approximate 8.9 percent rental rate premium associated with LEED apartments.  Moreover, this research provides the first indication that LEED certification garners an additional premium over non-certified space that identifies as green, identifying the strength of the certification signal and contributing to the longstanding discussion on the merits of certification.
  • “For more than a decade, governments have been incentivizing, and now requiring, private developers to construct energy efficient, sustainable projects.  We examine the types of incentive programs governing single family market-rate residential construction and determine whether or not these programs have successfully encouraged green construction.  A cross-sectional comparison of municipalities with and without green private residential incentive programs indicates which type of certification program is most popular, which types of incentive programs prove most successful, and which government levels of policy issuance prove most effective.”

She is now working to get her work published more widely and to extend these ideas.  For further information, please contact Avis Devine directly.