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About This Column

Resource Center is about all types of helpful information resources for real estate analysts and valuers--books, articles, research papers, presentations, data sources, videos, and websites. (1) This edition of Resource Center puts the spotlight on the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the economic information and research available on its website. This column also takes a look at newly available literature and at the signage that valuers may encounter in commercial and industrial assignments.

Resource in the Spotlight: The Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is part of the US Department of Commerce. If you are new to this resource, you may be amazed at the variety and depth of economic information on the BEA website, The BEA's mission is to provide "the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic accounts data." BEA produces some of the most closely watched economic statistics that provide a comprehensive picture of the US economy. (2)

Before going to the BEA site, you may want to check out the External Resources section of the Appraisal Institute's Lum Library homepage [login required], (3) Click "Bureau of Economic Analysis" and you will see a guide on using the BEA site at The guide page is quite helpful, providing a phone number to talk directly to a BEA librarian; another phone number to talk to an economist who is an industry expert for real estate, rental, and leasing data; and an email address and contact information for the BEA Public Information Office of the BEA.

The BEA homepage,, lists (with links) the major types of information on the site. In the left column, you'll see the following categories with links to specific items:

* News. US Economy at a Glance; Current Releases; News Release Archive

* Information for ... Media, Congressional Users; eFile Users; Private Fund Reporters

* Factsheets. Regional PI & GDP [personal income and gross domestic product]; International Trade & Investment; Industry GDP

* Publications. Survey of Current Business; Papers by Topic

* Resources. Interactive Tables, Research at BEA, Developers, Videos, Visuals and Audio, FAQs

* Tools. A-Z Index; Glossary

The meat of the homepage is in the center column, titled "U.S. Economic Accounts." The information in this column is divided into five sections: National, International, Regional, Industry, and Supplemental Accounts. Within the sections, you'll find links to the following information:

* National. Gross Domestic Product; Personal Income and Outlays; Consumer Spending; Corporate Profits; Fixed Assets

* International. Balance of Payments; Trade in Goods and Services; International Services; International Investment Position; Direct Investment and Multinational Enterprises

* Regional. GDP by State and Metropolitan Area; State and Local Area Personal Income; Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas; Personal Consumption Expenditures by State; Regional Input-Output Modifiers; Economic Information for Coastal Areas

* Industry. Quarterly GDP by Industry; Annual Industry Accounts (GDP by Industry & Input-Output Accounts); Benchmark Input-Output Accounts; Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts; Supplemental Statistics

* Supplemental Accounts. Health Care, Arts and Cultural Production, Travel and Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Accounts; Integrated Income, Product, and Federal Reserve Financial Accounts; Integrated BEA GDP-BLS Productivity Accounts; Integrated BEA/BLS Industry-Level Production Account

If you have questions, there is an extensive Frequently Asked Questions section, which itself is indexed and searchable, https://www. The Staff Contacts tab on the homepage takes you to a contacts page,, which lists email contacts for each specific type of economic information (e.g., for assistance related to gross domestic product by state, contact

Of Special Interest to Analysts and Valuers

The Regional section of the website, https://, has market information on both GDP and per capita personal income; population; personal income and expenditures by state and metropolitan area; and interactive quarterly tables for personal income and employment. There is even a regional glossary of terms,, which supplements the general glossary found on the homepage. The regional glossary includes well over 500 terms with important specific meanings and distinctions.

In the Regional section you'll find the BEA Regional Fact Sheets, known as "BEARFACTS," which are useful interactive regional fact sheets with data about personal income by state, county, and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), For example, the BEARFACTS pages for an MSA, available using the interactive map at, indicate population and ranking among other MSAs, per capita personal income (PCPI), total personal income, PCPI for the MSA relative to national, changes, growth rates, and trends. Personal income includes net earnings by place of residence; dividends, interest, rent, and personal current transfer receipts. These components of personal income are shown in both tables and graphs with changes over time also shown. BEARFACTS for states and counties show a similar breakdown of data. If you need assistance, you'll find contact information to the right on the BEARFACTS homepage, with the phone numbers and email addresses to contact BEA staff.

The "More Detail (Income)" tab on each BEARFACTS page permits the researcher to drill down for more comprehensive information; select from the exhaustive statistics available under headings such as

* Personal Income, Population, Per Capita Personal Income

* Personal Income and Employment by Major Component

* Personal Income by Major Component and Earnings by Industry

* Compensation of Employees by Industry

* Total Full-Time and Part-Time Employment by Industry

* Economic Profile

* Personal Current Transfer Receipts

* Farm Income and Expenses

* Gross Flow of Earnings

* Real Personal Income and Regional Price Parities

* Property Income

Interactive Mapping

The Regional section also has GDP and personal income interactive mapping capabilities,, so the user can create a variety of maps down to the county and MSA level. The information includes quarterly and annual gross domestic product and personal income by state; personal income and employment; consumption expenditures; GDP, personal income; and employment by metro area and county as well as real personal income and regional price parities.

In the BEA website's "Industry" tab at the top of the homepage, you will find data on GDP by industry as well as input-output account information by industry; capital flow data; articles and information on methodologies; staff contacts; email subscription services for a variety to economic topics; (4) fixed assets; RIMS II regional input-output multipliers (5) (with description and User's Guide in PDF); and travel and satellite accounts.

The "Interactive Data" tab, https://www.bea .gov/itable, is the central access point for display of BEA data. Its charts and tables are designed to be printed, saved, and exported. Enter the data parameters (date, statistic, level) and it will display data in map, table, or chart format.

Recommendation: This is a worthy site for exploration if you are involved in market studies or forecasts. As with other federal sites with economic data, this is a good site with lots of information to explore, and it is worth taking the time to learn what all is available.

Other Federal Economic Data Sites

The BEA website information complements other important federal government resources for economic information. Real estate analysts and valuers should keep these in mind as well:

* US Census,

* Bureau of Labor Statistics,

* Library of Congress,

* US Department of the Treasury,

* USA Government,

* Data Gov., with almost 200,000 datasets, tied to local as well as national level,

* Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income (SOI) information,

* Congressional Budget Office,

* FRED Database (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis),

To help you with your search, you may want to keep handy the below list of webpages that offer guidance on information sources and provide research assistance in searching general federal government data and information:





New in the Literature: The Latest Articles and Research Online

National Real Estate Investor

The National Real Estate Investor (NREl) website,, has a variety of thought-stimulating articles on commercial real estate. Why is this site of interest to real estate analysts and valuers? First, the site provides a cross-disciplinary approach to commercial real estate news. Second, it offers

* information on current major events relating to commercial real estate;

* articles about trends and market conditions in various locations for different major types of commercial real estate;

* articles on large property sales and developments, particularly in major markets; and

* some research articles or papers.

Basic topic sections of the website (shown in the dropdown menu, upper left corner of homepage) include:

* Finance & Investment

* Retail

* Office

* Industrial

* Alternative Properties

* Real Estate Services

NREI's flagship magazine, National Real Estate Investor, is available online at Recent articles in the magazine that are of interest to valuers include "The Replacements; What Types of Tenants Will Fill Empty Anchor Spaces and Big Boxes?" (June 27, 2017), and "In a Sweet Spot: Exclusive Research on the Seniors Housing Sector" (August/September 2017).

Current events are highlighted in the newsletters NREl Daily and NREl Weekender as well as on NREl Wire,

NREl Wire provides a digest of commercial real estate articles from various other sources. It includes a weekly feature called "10 Must Reads for the Commercial Real Estate Industry," with recent news stories of possible interest to real estate analysts and valuers. To illustrate some of the topics and variety, below is a partial list of "10 Must Reads" in August 2017:

* "Here's Why Bigger, More Expensive Buildings Are Usually a Better Investment" (

* "Retail Comeback, Or Just A Few Bright Spots?" (

* "More Growth Ahead for Senior Housing" [from NREl Research Series] (

* "Are Pop-Up Shops Becoming a Permanent Fixture?" (

* "Target's Future--Giant Stores That Offer All Sorts of Services" (

* "Amazon Adds 'Instant Pickup' in US Brick-and-Mortar Push" (

On the website, real estate analysts and valuers also will find articles and commentary by market sector, as the below examples show.

* Retail

"Considerations in Monetizing Retail Real Estate" (

* Multifamily

"Multifamily Developers Try to Solve the Parking Challenge" (

* Office

* "Do Office Tenants Prefer the City or the Suburbs? The Answer Is Complicated" (

* "What New Technologies Mean for the Future of Office Space" (

* Industrial

* "Why Obsolete Warehouses on the 'Last Mile' Are Attracting Institutional Investors" (

* "How Drones Will Affect Commercial Real Estate" (

* Alternative Properties

"How Attractive Is Data Center Development?" (

Recommendation: The NREl website is worth a look. Use the daily "10 Must Reads for the Commercial Real Estate Industry" and see the "Top Stories" part of the homepage. Open the menu and examine the key sections. The no-cost email newsletter is worthwhile and you can subscribe at

National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts

At, the website of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), real estate analysts and valuers will find the latest research data and news stories related to real estate investment trusts (REITs). NAREIT describes itself as "the worldwide representative for REITs and publicly traded real estate companies with an interest in U.S. real estate and capital markets." (6)

REITs have a major influence in both the supply of, and demand for, a variety of property types in most metropolitan areas, so knowing about them, and their operations and strategies, is important. For real estate analysts and valuers, REITs may be an alternative investment to be considered and analyzed when valuing large commercial properties (think, principle of substitution). Further, many market analysts and valuers serve REIT clients or have a personal interest in them. If you are unfamiliar with the underlying concepts related to REITs, you may want to visit the "REIT Basics" section,, which offers excellent educational material about REITs, the hows and whys of their operation, and their role in the world (basic through intermediate level).

A good place to start exploring is the site's page titled "The Sources of All Things REIT," Here you'll find links to Real Estate Investment SmartBrief, REIT magazine, and the REIT Investor App. Real Estate Investment SmartBrief is a daily e-newsletter that monitors business, financial, and real estate media, identifying and distributing the most important news impacting the real estate industry, The news is grouped into categories, such as "Policy & the Economy," Real Estate Marketplace," "Investment News," and "Top News." Sign up for a free subscription to get the daily SmartBrief delivered to your email inbox.

The homepage has links to the various REIT Indexes, with performance metrics and indicators, values, and recent share price changes for All REITs, Equity REITs, and Mortgage REITs. Click "VIEW ALL" at the bottom of the webpage to see an extensive list of REIT data categories by property type.

Data and Research of Interest

Of particular interest to Appraisal Journal readers, the Data and Research section of the website,, provides the latest market commentary and research findings related to REITs. For example, there are recent commentaries on "Single-Family Rental REITs: LongTerm Players Providing Additional Housing Options,", and "Comparing Listed REITs with Private Equity Real Estate," Also in the Data and Research section, you will find links for performance data downloads, with the data categorized by investment sector and property sector/subsector. The Data and Research section has information about real-time and historical REIT Index Returns and performance measures, a Global Real Estate Index, and an Index Comparison tool. This section also has the "REIT Industry Financial Snapshot,", with a direct link to an extensive "REIT Industry

Monthly Fact Sheet"--check it for a timely current; year-end summaries; capital offerings, with values and returns for many REITs; a quarterly "T-Tracker" with charts.7

On this website, there are many articles from a variety of sources, and an archive that goes back several months that you should be sure to explore! For example, one of the NAREIT research articles, "2017:Q2 Commercial Property Update" provides current market update information; this is available for download at Other NAREIT Research articles of interest and available for download include "REITs and Real Estate: Outlook for 2017" and "REITs: Real Estate With a Return Premium," listed at The research section also includes links to third-party "sponsored research," such as

* "Academic Research: REITs Outperformed Private Real Estate Over 1994-2012" (, and

* "MSA Geographic Allocations, Property Selection, and Performance Attribution in Public and Private Real Estate Market Returns" (

For quick reference, here is a summary of where you can find the most recent information on from NAREIT:

* REIT Indexes, Performance:

* REIT Industry Data, Fact Sheets; REIT Research by NAREIT; Sponsored Research & Third-Party Research; Market Commentary:

* REIT Education, Information, & Investment Guides.

Real Estate Centers

Many of the real estate centers at US universities were reviewed in this column in the Fall 2014 issue of The Appraisal Journal (to download a copy of that column go to, login required). Here's an update on the current topics available from two of the major real estate centers.

Real Estate Center of Texas A&M University.

The TAMU Real Estate Center (https://www. has been cited in this column for its excellent articles and research on a broad range of real estate topics. In the center's flagship magazine, Tierra Grande, recent articles of interest to real estate analysts address investment, land markets, condemnation, taxes, and residential property, including the following:

* "Real Estate Crowdfunding. What's the Buzz?" (

* "Courts, Trains, and Eminent Domain" (

* "This Property Is Condemned, But..." (

* "Here Comes the Sun. The Value of Residential Solar" (

* "More Regulations, More Days to Close" (

* Housing Affordability: "Still Affordable" (

Center for Real Estate Studies, Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington.

The IU Center for Real Estate Studies has recently published some research on topics of interest to real estate analysts, including

* "New NCREIF Value Index and Operations," in Journal of Real Estate Research 25, no. 1 (2017) (See Academic Journals section below for information on how to access this article through the Lum Library.)

* "Virtual Technology: The Future Is Now for the Commercial Real Estate Industry," in Real Estate Issues, 2017 special issue (

For more on IU Center for Real Estate Studies research, go to

Academic Journals. In addition to the above, analysts interested in reading the latest scholarly research may want to take a look at academic journals. Appraisal Institute professionals have access to these journals through the Lum Library's EBSCO feature [login required]. To access academic journals, go to the "EBSCO Research Database" box, located at right on the Lum Library homepage, and click on the link "Browse selected real estate academic journals and trade publications," near the bottom of the EBSCO box. You will then see a list of academic journals, including journals of the American Real Estate Society. Click on the name of a journal, and you will see a page of "Publication Details" for that journal. The Publications Details page allows you to view content by year--live links in a right-hand column let you see the articles in each issue. You also may use the Publications Details page to search a journal by keyword or phrase--just click the link "Search within this publication" above the words "Publication Details."

Warning Signage

Hazard Signs: USDOT, OSHA, and NFPA

One of the interesting aspects of the valuation profession is the variety of situations real estate valuers experience. If you are involved in commercial, and particularly industrial, property it is not uncommon to come across various types of signage to warn you about certain hazards. Beyond the skull and crossbones, indicating poison, there are many others. You may be familiar with some, but it's time to expand your knowledge. Here is a sampling. (8)

Many hazard signs have yellow backgrounds with a black symbol in the center. These signs include the ones shown below:

There are a variety of standards and regulations related to hazardous materials signage. For example, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) requires hazardous materials signs to provide information related to hazardous materials in transportation containers (tanks, packages, vehicles). (9) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires signs to inform workers about the hazards of chemicals in the workplace under normal conditions of use and foreseeable emergencies. (10)

In the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code, section 704 provides "a system for identifying specific hazards and the severity of the hazard." (11) The NFPA 704 signs are displayed outside buildings to aid emergency responders, hut they also can give valuers an indication of what to expect at an industrial site.

Valuers of industrial buildings containing chemicals often encounter the NFPA 704 "fire diamond" sign shown below. The specific content of this sign changes depending on circumstances. (12)

NFPA 704 Diamond Sign

Red (flammability)

White (special)

Within the diamond, each section is coded by color and by a number or letter(s). The color of a section indicates the type of hazard, while the number (0, 1, 2, 3, 4) indicates the level of hazard, with larger numbers indicating greater danger. The NFPA explains the codes in each quadrant as follows.

The top point section indicates flammability and is always red. This quadrant includes a number denoting the level of flammability:

0--Will not burn (e.g., concrete, sand)

1--Must be preheated to bum (e.g., mineral oil, ammonia)

2--Ignites when moderately heated (e.g., diesel fuel)

3--Ignites at normal temperatures (e.g., gasoline)

4--Extremely flammable (e.g., acetylene, pro pane, liquid hydrogen) substances. Flash points below room temperature (73[degrees]F).

The left point indicates health hazards and is always blue. This quadrant includes a number denoting the level of hazard:

0--Slightly hazardous (e.g., acetone)

1--Hazardous; use breathing apparatus (e.g., ammonium phosphate)

2--Extremely dangerous; use full protective clothing (e.g., liquid hydrogen)

3--Too dangerous to enter vapor or liquid (e.g., hydrofluoric acid)

4--Material such that "very short exposure could cause death or residual injury" (e.g., hydrogen cyanide)

The right point indicates substance instability or reactivity of substances and is always yellow. In this quadrant, a number denotes how stabile or reactive a material is when exposed to heat or water. The numbers in this quadrant denote the following:

0--Unstable if heated (e.g., propene)

1--Violent chemical change possible; use hose streams from distance (e.g., white phosphorus)

2--Strong shock or heat may detonate; use monitors from behind explosive resistant barriers (e.g., ammonium nitrate)

3--May detonate; vacate area if materials are exposed to fire (e.g., nitroglycerin)

The bottom point is always white and includes letters or abbreviations denoting special circumstances. For example:

* OX indicates "oxidizer, allows chemicals to burn without an air supply" (e.g., ammonium nitrate)

* W (an upper-case W with line strikethrough) indicates "reacts with water in an unusual or dangerous manner (e.g., sulphuric acid)

* SA indicates "simple asphyxiant gas" (e.g., nitrogen)

In addition to these NFPA 704 standard abbreviations, the white section may also show COR, ACID, or ALK, indicating corrosive or strong acid; BIO indicating a biological hazard, such as a virus; POI, indicating a poisonous substance, such as strychnine; RA or RAD, indicating a radioactive substance, such as cobalt-60; and CRY or CRYO, indicating a cryogenic substance, such as liquid nitrogen.

For additional information and discussion of hazardous materials signage, check out the following:

* "Reading Hazardous Materials Placards (or 'What's that Tank Car, Intermodal Container, or Truck Carrying?'),"

* "Hazardous Chemical Information,"

* Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration,

Infrastructure Signs

The American Public Works Association (APWA) (13) also has developed a standardized designation system; in this case the designation system is for the location of underground facilities. The APWA system employs a uniform color code denoting the type of underground facility. Valuers may encounter colored markings on the surface that utilize flags, signs, spray paint, or other indicators. The code's color designations are as follows: (14)
White    Proposed excavation

Pink     Temporary survey markings

Red      Electric power lines, cables,
         conduit and lighting cables

Yellow   Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous

Orange   Communication, alarm or signal lines,
         cables or conduit

Blue     Potable water

Purple   Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines

Green    Sewers and drain lines

Pipes, culverts, conduit, boxes, or shields covering equipment, as well as facilities and such, may be marked even when located aboveground.

A Call to Readers

If you know of additional resources of interest to real estate analysts and valuers--or would like to suggest topics for this column--please contact the author at Of special interest are resources that address the following cutting-edge topics:

1. Expected or likely impact of autonomous vehicles (driverless cars, trucks, buses) on real estate uses and values.

2. The expected effect of new technology and technology refinement on market analysis and valuation methods and techniques. (15)

3. The expected effect of new technology on property uses and values.

4. The effect of changing retail business models and practices on real estate, including retail business's response to the Amazon phenomenon. (16)

5. The repurposing of real estate, particularly retailing space and shopping centers reconfigured for medical, educational, and office uses.

6. The effects of advancing technology in manufacturing and warehousing on real estate uses, design, features, and functionality; technology's impact on distribution and materials pipelines, and demand related to warehouse space; and the potential for facility obsolescence.

7. Will recognition of psychology of market participants and sociological influences affect the techniques used by market analysts and valuers? How?

8. How will artificial intelligence affect real estate valuation, analysis, and marketing?

9. Do Bitcoin and similar crypto currencies have significance for real estate?

10. How can 360-degree photography, interactive exhibits, virtual reality, and paperless reports be utilized in market studies and valuation reports?

Of course, many of these topics also may be good articles for The Appraisal Journal, so if you are interested in writing on these topics yourself, consult the Journal's manuscript guide (

Dan L. Swango, PhD, MAI, SRA, is president of Swango Real Estate Counseling and Valuation International in Tucson, Arizona. He is experienced in valuation and consulting involving equity investment, debt security, risk reduction, profit optimization, estate planning and settlement, buy/sell opportunities, and eminent domain. Swango is an instructor and communicator with domestic and international experience. He is namesake of The Appraisal Journal's Swango Award, past Editorial Board chair and editor-in-chief of The Appraisal Journal, and a current member of the Journal's Review Panel. Contact:

by Dan L. Swango, PhD, MAI, SRA

(1.) For easy, direct access to the URL addresses noted throughout this article, read this column online. Go to http://bitly/TAJarticles and click on "View Current Issue." (Login required.) If using the print copy, the longer URLs have been shortened for easier entry.


(3.) The External Resources section of the Lum Library homepage is a one-stop shop for non-Appraisal Institute information. It has direct links to the Lum Library information files (keyword and topic research); Appraisal Institute of Canada; Associations Unlimited; WorldCat (with links to other libraries); Internet Resources (links by topic, property type, and resource type); US Census Bureau American FactFinder; Bureau of Economic Analysis; National Apartment Association Survey of 2016 Apartment Operating Data; and Integra Realty Resources' Research.

(4.) See

(5.) Regional Input-Output Modeling System, or RIMS II, is a regional economic model used to objectively assess the potential economic impacts of various projects, see

(6.) For more about NAREIT, go to

(7.) T-Tracker is NAREIT's quarterly performance measure. It monitors three key REIT measures: dividends, total funds from operations (FFO), and net operating income (N0I). For more information, see

(8.) For a more complete list of examples see: GHS hazard pictograms at and Hazard Symbols at

(9.) 49 CFR Part 172, For a visual guide, see DOT Chart 15 "Hazardous Materials Markings, Labeling and Placarding Guide,"

(10.) These signs are called "HazCom 2012" signs because the requirements are found in the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 (2012).

(11.) NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response, "Frequently Asked Questions on NFPA 704" at

(12.) NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response, The DOT signs also are triangular, but use a different coloring and numbering system.

(13.) The APWA also has a resource center with articles addressing topics of interest to valuers (e.g., utilities and rights of way) at

(14.) See for a downloadable PDF. Sometimes the exact color varies. For example, reclaimed water in irrigation or other uses may be marked by a color more resembling lavender than purple, and sometimes the green used for sewers and drains is a light green.

(15.) Earlier this year, the Counselors of Real Estate published a list of 2017-2018 top-ten issues affecting real estate in 2017 and 2018 ( Among the items on the list is the technology boom, which encompasses robotic learning, artificial intelligence, robots, big data, increased real-time information, loss of jobs to technology, changes in car usage and ownership, and changes in the warehouse to retail space ratio.

(16.) Retailers are trying new creative retailing ideas that are likely to affect real estate uses. For example, to remain competitive, retailers are offering services and enticements for consumers to visit brick-and-mortar stores, including experiences and attractions, and modeling stores displaying product for online ordering.

Caption: NFPA 704 Diamond Sign
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Title Annotation:Resource Center
Author:Swango, Dan L.
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Date:Jun 22, 2017
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