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Few industries have created as much wealth in the past few years as real estate. Thousands of Americans have flocked to the business, most notably as Realtors and mortgage brokers. But Stan Ross, chairman of the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate, notes in a new book, Inside Track to Careers in Real Estate, that real estate job seekers, whether they be recent college grads or older folks looking for a mid-career switch, need to look beyond the obvious professions. That’s true especially as the nation’s hot housing market cools. Ross notes that megatrends are sweeping the industry, creating all sorts of new opportunities. Real estate is no longer the exclusive stomping ground of local landlords and entrepreneurs. Pension funds, real estate investment trusts and other large institutional investors are hiring real estate professionals. Larger multi-state developers and real estate managers have some strategic advantages, he notes, such as being able to borrow not on just individual properties but across whole portfolios. They can withstand the time and expense of lengthy and complicated development projects. New environmental regulations and technologies are creating work for people with knowledge of “green building” techniques. At the same time, non-profits and other community organizations are developing housing and inner city real estate in partnerships with private firms. Real estate will continue to be a dynamic industry to work in, especially for people who think broadly about the business.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.