William C. Wheaton, professor of economics and of urban studies and planning, has been appointed director of MIT's Center for Real Estate starting September 1. Professor Wheaton has been active in the Center since its founding in 1984 both in teaching a core course in real estate economics and in carrying out significant research on real estate markets.
Dr. Wheaton, who helped to develop the field of urban economics by pioneering the theory of differentiated markets (such as those for land, location, and housing), feels that this difficult period in the real estate business cycle is a good time for MIT's Center to lead the way in emphasizing the importance of basic principles of economics. "If real estate is to remain a vital industry in the 1990s," he said, "it must examine the economic forces that will guide property markets in the future and recognize that changes are needed in the institutional vehicles through which real estate capital is raised and owned."
The present Director of the Center Professor Lawrence Bacow says, "Bill is one of the top economists of his generation and one of the most astute analysts of real estate markets. The Center will be well served by his insights and leadership in the years to come." Professor Bacow will return to full time teaching and research in the fall.
Professor Wheaton, who has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1972, was the first economist to apply econometric methods to the forecasting of real estate markets. He works actively with real estate professionals to better understand the fluctuations and trends of the industry. He has also specialized in the problems of urban infrastructure and local government finance, and has written numerous articles in scholarly journals.
Professor Wheaton received the BA degree in economics from Princeton University, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the Urban Land Institute and on the editorial board of the journal of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association. Over the years he has worked with many US governmental agencies as well as the World Bank and the United Nations.
The Center for Real Estate promotes research and education in real estate development, management and investment. Its major activities include a 12-month Master of Science in Real Estate Development program, professional development courses, and research on important issues in the field. The Center's highly regarded Minority Developers Executive Program marks a milestone this June by graduating its 100th participant. The Center's faculty is drawn from the Departments of Economics, Urban Studies and Planning, Architecture, Civil Engineering, and the Sloan School of Management. Its supporting membership includes 80 distinguished real estate firms from the US and abroad.
A version of this article appeared in the June 17, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 34).