Winter 1993 Edition of Property Valuation Monitor

Good Stuff (Occasionally) Cheap

FOR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE real estate and closely related economic and demographic information, there are many periodicals from which to choose. In general they are of four types:

Some are expensive; some are free. Often there is little correlation between price and substance. So beware, and try before you buy.

Government sponsored publications tend to be the least expensive. On the other hand, the most expensive tend to be for-profit publications. This group is of two types: those that are subsidized by advertising and those that are not. Those that are not cost more. In these publications, much like a premium cable-TV channel, you can avoid the frequent interruption of people hawking their wares. You will, however, pay more for the luxury.

For Deep Pockets

For those with deep pockets an organization known as Pension Real Estate Association publishes a real estate information junkie's dream, PREA Quarterly. This 40± page magazine aims to be a professional level, high-quality industry publication. It covers subjects important to pension fund real estate investors and advisors. The magazine reflects the state of the nation's pension fund, real estate industry very well.

Beyond getting non-ivory tower, topical articles written by the nation's top real estate and economic researchers, academicians, investors, and advisors, you also get a highly informative real estate "Market Sentiment Survey". This regular feature reports on surveys taken of real estate pension fund plan sponsors, researchers, acquisition executives and asset managers. If you want to know the climate for one or more classes of property (i.e. apartment, office, etc.), you will find:

Survey results are neat and concise on one and one-half pages!

You won't learn what the demand is for Joe's local strip mall, but you will get a great barometer on leading indicators of what is about to warm and cool in the larger, overall real estate market.

I could make more nice comments, but I might as well tell you the bad news: only members of the Pension Real Estate Association can get a subscription. Basic corporate membership is $1,400 per year. Two other options you might consider: if you qualify, you can get an academic membership at $300 per year, or you may occasionally request a back issue now and then (though I'm not recommending the latter).

Write to: PREA Quarterly, 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033 or call (203) 657-2612.


For the Frugal

For something more reasonable in price, try the National Real Estate Investor. This magazine of about 125 pages, published monthly, covers some of nations most significant real estate sale and lease transactions and trends. You get a current commercial mortgage survey in each issue, occasional investor surveys, and frequent city and area real estate market surveys. You also get hot-topic articles. This month's issue talks about tenants "Flight to Quality in Nation's Largest Office Market", and "Emerging Trends" in the real estate market.

A recent issue reviewed the Northeast market and provided rental, sale and vacancy data covering Manchester and Nashua, NH, as well as a section on the Greater Boston area. You'll have to dance your way around clumps of advertising, but that's why you only pay $75 a year for 13 issues. With this much industry information, you ought to sample this one.

Write to: National Real Estate Investor, 6151 Powers Ferry Rd., N.W., Atlanta, GA 30339 or call (404) 955-2500.


At Last -- Quality for Free

Now, I'll give you one for free; in some ways this is the best of the bunch. It is a 30± page quarterly, Regional Review. Although it does not limit its focus to real estate, you will still find information that relates to the state of the real estate market, particularly in New England, the geographic focus of the publication. Also, you get articles on general and personal economic matters. In a recent issue, they did an in-depth, feature article on the boom and bust in the New England, commercial office building market.

Other articles worth a look included "Economic Forecasting" and "The Changing Banks". Even if you aren't in the mood to read, you'll still enjoy this, as the art work is the most attractive I've ever seen in a periodical -- anywhere! I am told by an art groupie, that the magazine's art director, Ronn Campisi, used to be the art director for the upscale Boston Magazine.

Why is the magazine free? It is published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a Federal government agency. This publication does not, however, look like any Federal publication that you have ever seen.

Write to: Regional Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, P.O. Box 2076, Boston, MA 02106-2076 or call (617) 973-3397.

The author, Stephen Traub, ASA, is Chief Commercial Appraiser for Property Valuation Advisors, Newburyport, MA. He is a certified general appraiser in NH, ME and MA. He can be reached at (508) 462-4347 or by e-mail at:

Other articles in this Winter 1993 issue of PVM include: Vacancies Decline; What's In and What's Out in '94; Commercial Mortgage Survey; Northern New England Vacancy Survey; Four Letter Words of Real Estate.

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