Real estate economics and finance

Learn how real estate shapes cities

How cities evolve

Why does economic activity concentrate in specific locations? How do real estate developers react to the strong demand for space at these focal points? What are the implications for the surrounding urban areas? Should the government provide guidance through land use policy? These questions illustrate a number of important topics that will be dealt with in the Minor Real Estate Economics and Finance. You will learn what economic analysis contributes to our understanding of how cities evolve and about the role policy can play. You gain insight into the functioning of real estate markets, including their volatility and apparent lack of efficiency.

Real Estate Finance and Urban Development 

This course on real estate investment and urban development (Vastgoedkunde) deepens the knowledge of students by introducing them into the real estate investment industry and world of urban development and financial markets. Students will get in touch with the people engaged in the dynamics of the real estate world through guest lectures and visits to the South Axis and (re)development projects in and around Amsterdam. They will study the developments on real estate markets and the techniques to invest, to develop, to valuate and manage real estate, also in the context of urban development. The focus will be on understanding the behaviour of the actors involved.

Real Estate Investment 

A large part of the national capital stock consists of real estate. Most of it is located in cities. Within cities there is a concentration in a small number of centers and subcenters. The built environment is the result of past and current investments in real estate and the course introduces you into its analysis. After a general introduction that emphasizes the important role of real estate in the (urban) economy, the basics of real estate valuation (yield, DCFM), land use policy and housing market policy (including the specifics of the Dutch situation) will be discussed. We will study residential as well as commercial markets (offices, shops, industrial real estate). Attention will be paid to the interplay between economic and planning issues in the generation of new real estate in residential and commercial areas. We will analyze the financing of real estate investments by studying their structure (organizational forms and joint ventures), to the secondary mortgage markets and to real estate investement trusts (REITs).

Behavioral Finance and Real Estate 

This course provides a behavioral perspective on real estate decision making and markets. In particular, students learn how behavioral biases affect the decisions of participants in real estate markets, and how the bounded rationality of market participants can explain real estate market dynamics. The course starts with a general introduction into the psychology of decision making. The second part provides a psychological perspective on property valuations, negotiation outcomes, and mortgage choices. The last part of the course considers the efficiency and dynamics of real estate markets, with a special focus on bubbles and crashes.

Urban Economics and Real Estate 

This course in Urban and Real Estate Economics addresses the relationship between urban space, real estate development and economic development. It links economic theory to urban and real estate development, and it places real estate development in the wider context of the relation between city growth and economic development. Insights are developed both through studying theoretical backgrounds and by considering practical examples of the issues at hand.

Real Estate Economics and Finance Research Project 

In this course you will identify a relevant research topic in real estate economics and finance, write a paper about it and present your results. The research topic must be in the field of real estate economics and finance, broadly defined so as to include urban economics, spatial planning and behavioural economics aspects of real estate markets. The topic can be in any type of real estate including that used for commercial and non-profit purposes, land and infrastructure. The choice of the topic can be based on current new items, large societal problems, a specific interest of yourself, et cetera. The earlier courses in the minor may also provide inspiration. Further to help you a list with potentially interesting topics will be provided. After having received approval of the chosen topic, you have to formulate the main research question and formulate a research strategy to find the answer. This can be a review of existing literature, but doing some research yourself is encouraged. This may involve the use of techniques like regression analysis, questionnaires, and interviews.e considers the efficiency and dynamics of real estate markets, with a special focus on bubbles and crashes.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

Economics, Business Economics and (International) Business Administration students with an interest in spatial and financial aspects of the economy, real estate, behavioral or urban economics. Earth and Economics students. Human Geography, Planning, and Real Estate students with an interest in the fiancial and economic aspects of real estate.


VU student: you can register for the courses of the minor via VUnet from 20 July.
Other students: you can register as a secondary course student (bijvak) via More information about this procedure can be found on this website in Dutch or in English.

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact:

Jan Rouwendal | | 020-5986093 


Samenvatting Real estate economics and finance




1 semester (30 EC)


1 September


Economie, Recht en Bestuur
Gedrag en Maatschappij


School of Business and Economics