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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark RiedyMark Riedy, PhD

Perhaps because of my training as a business economist, I tend to be a “big picture” person and like to understand the why’s and why not’s associated with public policy issues and opportunities. For example, in the November issue of The Pipeline, I questioned why commercial real estate development was singled out as the sole source of additional “public” funding for affordable housing. I’ve had my say on that topic.

18th Annual Real Estate ConferenceOther public policy questions also intrigue me and I acknowledge in advance that they are not all real estate-related. I hereby offer them to you as my version of a Christmas gift. In no order of priority, feel free to ponder the following:

In the course of state and federal debates about minimum wage laws, why don’t legislators also factor in the costs of public and private education at the junior college, four-year undergraduate and graduate levels and calculate the present value of lifetime incomes as a return on individuals’ investment in their education? In that light, income disparities would be narrower.

Why aren’t flags flying atop every business, government building, apartment complex and home in the region? Flags serve as a beacon of patriotism and reflect pride in our military might. They would distinguish San Diego’s downtown skyline uniquely and define us as “America’s Flagship City.”

Why do we promote tourism so strongly when tourism-oriented jobs tend to be low-to-moderate income generating and thereby exacerbate the region’s affordable housing shortfall, which is already a major socio-economic public policy problem?

Why does it appear that many public policy decisions are being driven by their potential for increases in sales tax revenues and increases in other tax revenues, or fee income, more so than by broader, community-wide criteria designed to enhance the quality of life in this region?

Why not add a twist to the concept of mixed-use development and figure out a way to increase the supply of affordable housing by enabling construction above “public” buildings, such as schools, libraries, police and fire stations, city and county administration buildings and the like?

Why not add a new provision to the comprehensive health care program — a provision designed to reduce the costs of “adverse selection” by mandating an extended (6-12 months) waiting period between the time a person applies for health care insurance and the date it becomes effective. A waiting period could not be implemented immediately because application backlogs may delay sign-ups. Once the backlog has been eliminated, however, the waiting period could be required. Being able to pay a fine for not signing up for insurance or buying a low-cost policy until major health care issues arise and then switching immediately to one with higher costs but better benefits, are recipes for adverse selection and threaten major increases in costs to the program. 

Consistent with San Diego’s growing interest in “community before self,” why not assemble a diverse group of community-minded thought leaders who promise to keep their personal agendas out of the mix and dedicate themselves to fashioning a regional “big picture” set of macro socio-economic goals and broad set of strategic guidelines within which they can encourage mayors, city managers, city council members and county supervisors to operate? While elected politicians and those running for office highlight their no less legitimate but narrower policy proposals (neighborhood strategies, pension reform, outsourcing and competitive bidding of government services as examples) the “kitchen cabinet” would give voice to broader community and regional goals and strategic guidelines. They could use “moral suasion” and their bully pulpit to nudge politicians toward the greater common good: less partisan, less acrimonious, less divisive. The thought leaders could give life to the saying that “less is more.”

This is such a special time of year. We gather with families and friends to celebrate our individual faiths, exchange gifts and rejoice in our God-given ones. We reflect on our hopes for the New Year while also enjoying the moment. To each of you, my warm wish is for a Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays in this great country where we are so blessed to be free to express ourselves freely and candidly. See you in 2014.

Mark Riedy
Mark J. Riedy, PhD
Executive Director

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Residential Conference Attendees Hear Outlooks for 2014

Stan Humpfries
Keynote speaker Stan Humphries of Zillow Inc. shares his forecast of Southern California with the audience at the 14th Annual Residential Real Estate Outlook Conference.

Nearly 300 people gathered on the University of San Diego’s campus on Dec.12 for the Center’s sold-out 14th Annual Residential Real Estate Outlook Conference. Keynote speaker, Stan Humphries, PhD, chief economist of Seattle-based Zillow Inc., discussed “Housing Recovery, Southern California Style: is it too much, too fast?” He provided statistics on the national housing market over the last few years and offered predictions for the near future. Humphries provided a handout for the attendees, titled “October 2013 Zillow Market Overview: Real Estate.”

Humphries began his presentation noting the 16.3 percent decline in home values from the peak of the market in 2007. He stated that year-over-year, the Zillow Home Value Index shows San Diego at a little over 20 percent of an increase in historical appreciation — five times the national average rate of home value appreciation at 4.3 percent. He stated that San Diego home values bottomed out in Q1 of 2012. Humphries’ forecast for San Diego predicted a continued 6 percent increase into 2014. He expects mortgage interest rates will return to about five percent by the end of next year.

(From left to right) Conference panelists Nathan Moeder, John Olinski and Stephen Doyle listen to a question posed by moderator George Chamberlin.

Following the keynote address, George Chamberlin, executive editor of The Daily Transcript, moderated a discussion of the state of the industry and projections for the region’s 2014 residential real estate market. Panelists included: Stephen Doyle ’84 (JD), president of Sandy Point Properties; Nathan Moeder ’98 (BBA), ’06 (MSRE), principal of The London Group Realty Advisors; and John Olinski, executive vice president of OneWest Bank.

They discussed the challenges of building vertically, given that most of the building permits in the county are now for multifamily units. “Now we need to build up in San Diego; we used to build out,” Chamberlin said. Doyle concluded that companies are now forced to reevaluate their business plans and refocus their efforts strategically.

The event wrapped up with a Q&A session, fielded by Alan Nevin, director of economic and market research of Xpera Group, and Joseph Anfuso ’84 (BBA), ’89 (MBA), chief financial officer at ColRich. The two examined topics ranging from housing shortages in San Diego to adjustable mortgage rates to condo conversions.

Nevin and Anfuso agreed that the missing component in the housing market in San Diego is townhomes in the $300,000-$400,000 range. “San Diego needs to reassess its building plans and allow for this type of housing,” said Nevin.

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Charles Tu Named a 2014 NAIOP Distinguished Fellow

Charles Tu
Charles Tu, PhD

We are pleased to announce that Charles Tu, PhD, professor and academic director of the MSRE program, has been appointed a NAIOP Distinguished Fellow by the NAIOP Research Foundation Governors. Tu’s appointment as a NAIOP Distinguished Fellow shall run from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2014.

The Distinguished Fellows program is open to those in the academic and research fields of commercial real estate. Tu will be one of 15 Distinguished Fellows in the nation. The program was established to serve as a bridge between the commercial real estate industry and the academic community. Distinguished Fellows give presentations at NAIOP meetings, attend sessions and forums with other NAIOP leaders, generate new ideas and stay up-to-date on current trends and news from commercial real estate developers, owners and investors.

Tu will enjoy a number of benefits while being a NAIOP Distinguished Fellow, including: annual membership in the local and national chapters of NAIOP; registration at the Development Annual Meeting (Fall) and National Forums Symposium (Spring); an annual travel stipend; subscription to NAIOP’s Development magazine; and a variety of industry networking opportunities.

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Real Estate Undergrad Students Have Private Dinner with Roger Joseph

Dinner for 4
(From left to right) USD students Jonathan Fuller, Mark Finan and Kelsey Rooney pose for a photo with Joseph after their private dinner on campus.

USD’s School of Business Administration recently initiated a new program called “Dinner for Four” to offer students an opportunity to interact and network with leaders in the field they are pursuing. On Dec. 3, undergraduate real estate students Mark Finan, Jonathan Fuller and Kelsey Rooney attended a private dinner with Roger Joseph, chief executive officer and president of Franklin Croft, at the La Gran Terraza restaurant on campus.

Joseph is a USD alumnus and an active member of the University of San Diego Board of Trustees. He has over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate investment and development. Originally formed as Joseph Development Company in 1981, Joseph later re-established the company as Franklin Croft and has grown the company into one of San Diego’s leading full service real estate and hospitality organizations. His many years of involvement in the hospitality industry stem from his role as chairman of the board of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, a position he held until 2003. Currently, a director of the Club, Joseph is involved in setting policy and direction for the ongoing operations of this unique, privately owned hospitality enterprise, which includes the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the La Jolla Shores Hotel, restaurants, apartments and other properties.

“Having dinner with Mr. Joseph was invaluable,” said Jonathan Fuller. “He challenged us to ask as many questions as possible, and we did. Mr. Joseph shared advice on career paths, graduate-level education programs and much, much more. I am very grateful for this unforgettable experience.”

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MSRE Alums and Students Attend Annual Holiday Party

Holiday Party
(From left to right) 2007 MSRE alum Mary Ann Yaghdjian chats with current students Omar El-Mofty, Ben Murray, Nick Kubarych, Brad Williams and Michael Tran at the MSRE holiday party Dec. 5.

On Dec. 5‚ past and present MSRE students, their families and Burnham-Moores Center faculty and staff celebrated the holiday season at the MSRE annual holiday potluck. The gathering was held at The Lido Club House in Mission Valley and hosted by Trevor Hubbard ’05 (MSRE).

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MSRE Students Meet ConAm Executives

ConAmUSD’s Master of Science in Real Estate students met with the management team of the ConAm Group of Companies during their visit to the firm on Dec. 6. Rob Singh, senior vice president, investment group, Cameron Vance, acquisition officer and Caleb McKinley ’02 (BBA), director of business strategies greeted the students and shared ConAm’s history, management philosophy, recent transactions, financing strategies and other company initiatives.

“The visit to ConAm provided us with insights into the multifamily sector and gave us a better understanding of the important characteristics that investors should be looking for in multifamily assets,” said Ben Murray, MSRE candidate.

ConAm is a full-service real estate management and investment firm specializing in multifamily housing. It manages a nationwide portfolio of approximately 50,000 apartment units and also is active in the development, acquisition and rehabilitation of apartment communities. The company’s founder and chairman, Daniel Epstein, is a member of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Executive Committee.

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Alumni Matters

Erendira Cervantes ’04 (MBA)
Kelly Souza
Kelly Souza ’03 (BBA)
Courtland Weisleder ’09 (MSRE)

Erendira Cervantes ’04 (MBA) co-founded Sunwood Ventures in 2008. As president, Cervantes plays a key role in strategic planning. Her wide-ranging responsibilities include managing all projects, transactions and office operations. In its first five years, the company acquired over 1,650 residential lots throughout California, investing over $60 million with its partners. In 2013, Sunwood established partnerships with premier developers and homebuilders and committed over $70 million. Cervantes recently joined the Young Entrepreneurs Council of the Burnham-Moores Center’s Policy Advisory Board.

Kelly Souza ’03 (BBA) was recently promoted to senior vice president and manager of Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate office in San Diego. She oversees a local team of relationship managers and analysts who provide a wide array of debt solutions for large private and institutional real estate clients in the San Diego market. Additionally, her team provides clients with a one stop shop for financial needs and assists local commercial real estate offices with project-specific underwriting of assets. Souza has worked in the commercial real estate office at Wells Fargo for nearly 10 years.

Courtland Weisleder ’09 (MSRE) recently launched Dubs Interactive to house his three online brands. On his second day of the MSRE orientation program in 2008, Weisleder learned about renewable energy, particularly solar, thru Professor Norm Miller’s renewable energy symposium. That spurred Weisleder’s decision to launch his first company, Greener Dawn, which matches homeowners with solar installers by zip code on a nationwide basis. His second brand, Homval, educates homeowners on the value of improving their home while matching them with contractors by nationwide zip code. His final brand, Foolah ‘Save More Moolah,’ provides nationwide travel services, including hotels, rental cars, vacations and cruises to consumers at wholesale pricing. Weisleder is relocating to Delray Beach, Fla. in December 2013 to be closer to friends and family. 

Alumni News
If you are a USD alum working in the real estate industry, we would like to hear from you. Please e-mail Diane Gustafson with recent significant career-related achievements and initiatives. All submissions will be considered for publication.

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Riedy and Miller Speak at Local and National Industry Events

Norm Miller
Norm Miller, PhD

Mark Riedy, PhD, executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center, was the featured speaker at the San Diego chapter of the Appraisal Institute’s luncheon meeting on Nov. 14. He provided an overview of the Burnham-Moores Center’s history, current offerings and value to the local real estate industry.

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, was a panelist at the CoRE Tech 2013 Conference at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington Nov. 6-7. The panel addressed the question “Corporate Real Estate & Facilities Innovation...Why is Change So Hard?” The topic covered ways to improve the design, management and operations of buildings.

On Nov. 15, Miller spoke at a CoStar Group event in Washington D.C. He discussed “Capital Market Trends and Implications for Commercial Real Estate and the Role of Consultants.” His presentation was broadcast to several CoStar offices around the country.

Miller also spoke at a case competition with student teams from USD, The University of Notre Dame and Benedictine University at the Fairbanks Ranch Community Center in San Diego on Nov. 16. He reviewed the risks, technological breakthroughs and challenges of alternative fuel vehicles. The event was hosted by Frank Potenianzi and the M&T Foundation, donors who established Student International Business Councils at all three universities.

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USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators

Alan Gin
Alan Gin, PhD

Alan Gin, PhD, associate professor of economics at USD, has compiled the “USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County” for the Burnham-Moores Center since January 2002. The Index is a highly regarded monthly report which offers an outlook of the local economy. Gin is a popular resource for information and analyses and has given over 1,000 interviews to local and national media sources since 2002.

Gin’s most recent Index report appears monthly in The Pipeline.

To schedule a media interview with Gin, please contact Kimberly Malasky, director of communications and administration.

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Publication Schedule

The University of San Diego will be closed Dec. 21, 2013 - Jan. 1, 2014, and will not publish The Pipeline in January 2014. Our next edition will be published in February 2014.

Back to TopIn the News

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, and associate professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the Nov. 21, Dec. 1 and Dec. 6 editions of U-T San Diego’s “EconoMeter.”

Assistant Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, was quoted in a article on the benefits of non-residents investing in real estate in India.

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in a Nov. 18 U-T San Diego article on the commercial real estate market outlook for 2014.

Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, authored a Nov. 20 U-T San Diego op-ed piece on linkage fees.

Norm Miller’s guest blog “Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Innovation…Why is Change So Hard?” appeared on Nov. 22.

Alan Gin, PhD, was featured in The Daily Transcript and the San Diego Business Journal following his most recent release of the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, which he compiles for the Burnham-Moores Center.

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s 14th Annual Residential Real Estate Conference was featured in The Daily Transcript Dec. 12.

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THURSDay, FEB. 13, 2014

18th Annual Real Estate Conference and 20th Anniversary Celebration of USD’s Real Estate Program

Time: 7 – 8 a.m. breakfast and networking; 8 – 11:30 a.m. program; 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 20th Anniversary Celebration
Location: San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina, 333 West Harbor Dr., San Diego, 92101
Cost: $175 per person: includes registration, breakfast, hors d'oeuvres and refreshments at the Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.
Keynote Speaker: Sam Zell, founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments.


Register for the conference.


For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379. All media inquiries, please contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786.

THURSDAY, FEB. 27, 2014

12th Annual Real Estate Career Expo

The 12th Annual Real Estate Career Expo, conducted speed-networking style, connects graduate and undergraduate students with company representatives from a variety of fields within the industry. Company representatives receive a resumé book of the students registered for the event. Students are given a list of the real estate-related employers participating in the event.


Time: 12 - 2 p.m.
Location: Hahn University Center, University of San Diego campus


To participate in the Career Expo or for more information, contact John Ferber at (619) 260-7513.

Back to TopContinuing Education Courses

STARTS TUESDay, JAN. 8, 2014

Real Estate Finance