Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 24:1/2, 5±8, 2002
# 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
University of Cambridge
Research in real estate ®nance and economics has developed in an exciting way in the past
twenty-®ve years or so. The resulting theoretical and empirical ®ndings are shining a new
light on some of the classic mysteries of the real estate markets. It is good to see that a
growing proportion of this research output is concerned with contemporary problems and
issues regarding the European and Far Eastern property markets.
To stimulate a creative exchange of new ideas and a debate of the latest research
®ndings regarding the global property markets, we have established the Maastricht-
Cambridge Real Estate Finance and Investment Symposium. This initiative aims at
bringing together a number of leading researchers in the ®eld for a short, intensive
conference. The 2000 Symposium, which was hosted by Maastricht University in the
Netherlands in June of that year, is the ®rst in an annual series of such conferences, which
will alternate between Maastricht University and Cambridge University.
To decide which themes to include in the ®rst meeting of the Symposium, we began by
consulting the members of the advisory board and a number of experts in the ®eld.
Although tastes varied with respect to the ordering of important topics, the professional
consensus erred in favor of breadth of topics rather than a single unifying theme. This
resulted in a ®rst Symposium meeting, which was attended by 42 participants, and which
included presentation of twelve papers on a broad range of topics including property
companies' capital structure and securitization, real options, rents and mortgage contracts,
housing risk and portfolio issues.
The value of the Symposium is greatly increased by the parallel initiative taken by the
Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics for a Special Issue of symposium
proceedings. This Special Issue, named ``New Directions'', stimulates international
discussion of economic and ®nancial issues regarding the global real estate markets.
The twelve articles that were selected for presentation at the Symposium subsequently
went through the Journal's normal refereeing process, which resulted in the collection of
eight papers published in this issue. These eight articles represent a well-balanced mix of
contemporary topics. It does not seek to be a comprehensive guide of the contemporary
literature, but rather re¯ects the selection of major issues that participants at the ®rst
Maastricht-Cambridge Symposium meeting considered to be challenging. In choosing
individual contributions we used a number of guiding principles, of which importance of