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RSM2126H – Real Estate Development

General Information


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Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Real Estate (c)

Target Audience

Students interested in learning about the real estate industry and real estate development, specifically through class discussion and guest speakers. The focus is on the real world of development and planning rather than theory. Classes will be a combination of both lectures and discussion and will be supplemented by guest speakers.  Students will be expected to engage in the discussion and debate of the issues raised.


11 sessions – Classes on March 28th and April 24th will be extended by an hour and run from 18:30-21:30

Course Mission

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a fundamental background and basic skill set to understand the real estate development business and its interrelationships with urban planning. It will provide students with an introduction to the major disciplines and processes related to development, which can provide a basis for the pursuit of a career in the development field or simply an understanding of the mindset of the developer. The course attempts to provide some understanding of the complexity surrounding real estate development and will introduce a level of quantitative and qualitative thinking sufficient to deal with myriad of decisions that confront the real estate developer. This course gives students the opportunity to experience, first hand, the world of real estate development through a final group project in which students will be required to apply their acquired knowledge and skills to identify, investigate, evaluate, and present a real-life real estate development project.

Students are also expected to contribute to class debate and are encouraged to ask questions at any time. The objective of the course is to enable students to think critically about real estate development. This is not so much a course in facts as it is a course in thinking, learning and adapting to the forces shaping the real estate development industry.

Course Scope

Real estate development is one of the few business fields where financial, legal, social, environmental and political considerations are so intricately weaved.  Knowledge of the interrelationships of these elements and the ability to understand the ensuing issues are essential to all of those who are involved either directly or indirectly in the development industry.  All businesses and/or activities require real estate, and it is through real estate development that one can have ultimate control over the creation of value in real estate.

In finding the path to profit, a real estate developer has to navigate through many obstacles and deal with forces, which he or she must anticipate.  These forces can be local, provincial, national, and global in nature, ranging from the dynamic of the economy to changes in family structure, consumer spending patterns, migration trends and emerging technologies.  The interaction of these forces, over time, makes real estate development an exciting endeavor in which risks are high and rewards, at times, substantial.  It is a field strewn with challenges, risks and pitfalls that have toppled the largest and seemingly most stable organizations in the world.  Yet, the ownership of real estate has not lost its allure and it is from real estate that many (non-real estate) companies survive.

Real estate development can be considered the ‘bedrock’ of the real estate industry. To understand real estate development is to understand all aspects of the real estate industry—investing, financing, growth trends, market cycles, etc. This course provides an overview of the real estate industry, the development process, and the laws regulating it through the planning process. It covers the financial basis for development projects, the participants, the market search procedures and the financing of development. It also touches on the interface of the industry with the public sector.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing10%
Assignment #1Week 520%
Assignment #2Week 715%
Assignment #3Week 915%
Development Project – Class PresentationLast Class15%
Development Project – ReportLast Class25%

Required Resources

A course reader will be provided.  There are no required textbooks for the course. Additional required readings will be assigned and/or handed out in the previous week’s session. These must be read prior to the following week’s lecture, as they will be the source of class discussion. Reference readings will not be discussed in class and are intended only as an additional reference source on particular topics.

To supplement readings, cases and assignments may require additional resource material to be researched in the library or through interviews and contacts. The ability to find pertinent information through informal channels is a fundamental skill required in real estate development

Last Updated: 2022-01-28 @ 12:53 pm