FIU Faculty Unleash the Power of Real Estate Data

MasterOfRealEstate_-BuyVsRent_#2At Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate, research rules. Ranked #1 for real estate research in the U.S. and #2 globally by the Journal of Real Estate Literature, Hollo School faculty members are active researchers at the frontier of knowledge in real estate economics and finance. And for graduate students in FIU’s Online Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE) program, that means access to some of the top faculty minds in the country, including Eli Beracha, Faculty Director for the MSIRE program and one of the developers of the nationally acclaimed Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index.

The BH&J Index, produced by Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University faculty, measures the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds. “The traditional wisdom is that the best  way to accumulate wealth is through buying a home, and build savings through home equity,” said Beracha. “Through our initial research, what we found is that if renters were to invest all the money they would have paid as homeowners, including interest, taxes and insurance, renting is the better move about 75% of the time.” The faculty team published their research paper, “Lessons from Over 30 Years of Buy Versus Rent Decisions: Is the American Dream Always Wise,” in Real Estate Economics in 2011, and gained national attention, including a mention in The Wall Street Journal. Fueled by the national interest in whether to buy or rent, the faculty members—Beracha, along with William G. Hardin III, Director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU and Ken H. Johnson, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs in the College of Business at FAU—decided to expand their research, and the BHJ Index was developed, with a quarterly index that summarizes 23 major metropolitan housing markets and the U.S. real estate market as a whole.

The value of faculty who are involved in research is that they bring this expertise to bear on their teaching, together with their experience of the real estate industry. “Our MSIRE program is unique in that we have five PhD professors in real estate economics and finance—more than any other comparable program in the country,” said Beracha. “Faculty are engaged in cutting-edge applied research that’s of value to the industry—which gives our students a competitive edge in the marketplace.”

The FIU Online MSIRE program is geared toward working adults, and majority already have real estate experience. “They choose our master’s program because they want to enrich their knowledge and kick their career into a higher gear—advancing within their company, making the move from residential to commercial, or advising real estate investors,” said Beracha. “And the accelerated fully online MSIRE program enables students to gain knowledge in just a year that it might take 10 years to accumulate on the job. FIU Online students learn the exact same content as those in the classroom—They’re getting the same quality education with the flexibility that comes with online learning.”

To learn more about FIU’s Online Master of Real Estate, click here

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