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White Ruffin Byron Center for Real Estate


The Center prioritizes investment in real estate-related research that empowers faculty to explore critical topics and find solutions to pressing challenges facing the industry using a wide range of innovative tools.

Featured Faculty

Devin Harris

UVA Engineering professor is researching design and the built environment.

Nikki Hastings

McIntire professor and expert on biotechnology, lab infrastructure, and the built environment.

Matt Trowbridge

UVA physician and researcher specializing in health and the built environment.

Featured Projects

Sustainability and Private Equity Real Estate Returns

Authors: Avis Devine, Andrew Sanderford, Chongyu Wang, 2022

This paper explores the relationship between financial performance of the NCREIF Open Ended Diversified Core Equity (ODCE) index funds and reporting to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), a platform for disclosure about fund/firm-level ESG strategies

Cities Without Work: The Long Road from Boom to Bust

Author: Suzanne Moomaw, 2023

This book is the collective narrative of the 17 American cities with the highest rates of unemployment in 1960. While the decline in these cities was years in the making, the true depth of their circumstances and the systemic causes took time to realize and accept.

Political Polarization Affects Households’ Financial Decisions, Evidence from Home Sales

Authors: W. Ben McCartney, John Orellana-Li, and Calvin Zhang 2021

This paper examines the influence of partisanship and affective polarization on the decision to sell a home. Merging deeds records and voter rolls to craft a novel data set, models reveal that households are causally more likely to sell their homes when their neighbors are affiliated with the opposite political party. Moreover, the effect is strongest when the new neighbor is highly partisan and has grown larger over time. Broadly, the results indicate that affective polarization is more than just “political cheerleading” and has real effects on households’ financial decisions.

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Research Funding

The Center invests in real estate and built environment research being conducted by UVA faculty through our competitive seed grant program, which aims to support research that produces or provides the foundation for high-quality journal manuscripts, books, federal (or foundation) grant proposals, or doctoral dissertations. Proposals must focus on real estate or be directly related to the built environment, and may involve research that is underway, but not substantially completed, at the time of application. The program is open to individual researchers as well as to teams. A call for proposals will be posted here each semester, pending funding availability.

Through the Household Finance Project, a joint effort between faculty at the McIntire School of Commerce and the Darden School of Business, the Center is acquiring the complex data needed to answer critical decisions that span disciplines.

The Center seeks to work with other research funding agencies across UVA and beyond.

Center Organizational Affiliations

Applied Research

UVA Real Estate Center Hosts Conversation on Climate Change

To examine the causes of and potential solutions to climate change, UVA’s Center for Real Estate and the Built Environment explored the critical topic with a special webinar on April 28, 2022, featuring a timely conversation with keynote speaker Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties.