The UNSW Australia Business School has held a lively and energetic Real Estate Forum, as part of the Real Estate Initiative of CAER.

Christopher Mayer, the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate of Columbia Business School, was recently invited to speak at the second forum of the series.

His talk focussed both on the recent divergence in international property markets in the post-GFC period, and also on his research which highlighted significant trends in housing ownership and wealth, linked to aging populations, across the developed economies and conjectured on the implications for property markets.

The research suggested trends in Australia were very similar to those in the US.

Industry analysis on Professor Mayer's theme of divergence in international markets was provided by Dr Frank Gelber, Director and Chief Economist of BIS Shrapnel. Dr Gelber addressed the questions of why the Australian real estate market had fared better in the second half of the 2000s and why some of Australia's capital cities, notably Sydney, were well placed to succeed in the near term while the fundamentals were not as good in other cities.

In the roundtable discussion that followed there was commentary on the influence of the recent influx of Chinese investment on the near term outlook for the commercial and residential markets. In that context, reference was made to an academic paper by Professor Mayer which demonstrated the tendency for external players to perform less well than those with local market knowledge.

Concluding the Forum, Mr Adrian Williams, Head of Property Finance for AMP Capital, provided the closing remarks.

The forum is a small by-invitation assembly of leaders in the real estate industry. Through the Forum, the Real Estate Initiative aims to provide interactions with distinguished, thought-leading academics, as well as develop connections with experienced industry leaders who will support its activities with their deep expertise and knowledge.