Investopedia defines and explains “Real Estate”
Land plus anything permanently fixed to it, including buildings, sheds and other items attached to the structure. Although, media often refers to the “real estate market” from the perspective of residential living, real estate can be grouped into three broad categories based on its use: residential, commercial and industrial. Examples of real estate include undeveloped land, houses, condominiums, townhomes, office buildings, retail store buildings and factories.
Unlike other investments, real estate is dramatically affected by the condition of the immediate area where the property is located – hence the well-known real-estate maxim, “location, location, location.” With the exception of a national or global recession, real estate values are affected primarily by local factors such as the availability of jobs, crime rates, school quality and property taxes.
Hoover’s overview of the “Real Estate industry”
Excerpt from Real Estate Report
Companies in this industry buy, rent, or lease real estate, manage residential, commercial, and industrial properties, and provide other real estate related services, including appraisals. Major companies include CBRE Group, Long & Foster, Realogy, and Simon Property Group (all based in the US), as well as Mitsui Fudosan (Japan), Savills (UK), and Westfield Group (Australia).
Demand is driven by population growth, personal income, employment rates, interest rates, and access to capital. The profitability of individual companies depends on property values and demand, which are both impacted by general economic conditions. Real estate companies also rely on the supply of investment capital. Large companies have competitive advantages based on their financial resources and broad geographic reach. Small companies can compete effectively by focusing on local or regional markets. The US industry is highly fragmented: the top 50 companies account for about 20 percent of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products and services are property and investment management, brokerage services, leasing, valuations, and research. Clients include property owners, investors, home buyers, and renters. Real estate companies typically specialize in either residential or commercial properties.