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Lusk Perspectives

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Real Conversations, Real Estate

During a time of great uncertainty and rapid change, connection and information is a more important resource than ever before. Today's issues could be amplified or altered in a matter of days or hours, so it is vital that organizations and thought leaders frequently share knowledge, dispel rumors, and offer insight.

Hosted by Professor and Lusk Center Director Richard K. Green, Lusk Perspectives offers timely analysis and shares accurate data vetted by leading experts on the latest developments and observations concerning policy, real estate, urban economics and more.

Once interviews are conducted, resources and videos will be made available here and on podcast channels as soon as possible.


Latest Perspectives

Are Appraisals and Assessments Biased?

August 22, 2022
Ruchi Singh
Ruchi Singh | Assistant Professor, University of Georgia
Norm Miller
Norm Miller | Hahn Chair & Professor of Real Estate Finance, University of San Diego

Racial bias in home appraisals and assessments is not just an anecdote. Norm Miller (University of San Diego and Homer Hoyt Institute), Ruchi Singh (University of Georgia), and Richard K. Green (USC Lusk Center for Real Estate) discuss the statistically significant racial and ethnic biases in appraisals and tax assessments. 

Miller details the validity of recent analysis on valuation gaps from Freddie Mac as well as the benefits of automated valuation models. He also cautions that using machine learning without human oversight of variables can result in a different set of biases. 

Singh shows how assessments are regressive, often resulting in a mismatch of a lower property value with higher property taxes. She also points out contributing factors, including why excluding information like nearby schools or the condition of the home can set the assessments in opposition to appraisals. 

More from the discussion:

  • How to make the assessment process fairer
  • The importance of loan-to-value ratios in underwriting
  • Pressure appraisers face in avoiding errors
  • Why short-term and long-term appraisal models will be required to avoid bias

Relevant links:


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ADU Construction Financing: Opportunities to Expand Access for Homeowners

July 15, 2022
Erika Poethig
Erika Poethig | Special Assistant to the President for Housing and Urban Policy, The White House Domestic Policy Council
Diane Slemmer
Diane Slemmer | Single Family Affordable Lending Manager, Freddie Mac
Ben Metcalf
Ben Metcalf | Managing Director, Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Susan Geddes Brown
Susan Geddes Brown | Chief Executive Officer, Core SGB, LLC
Samar Jha
Samar Jha | Government Affairs Director, AARP
Meredith Stowers
Meredith Stowers | Branch Business Development Manager, Cross Country Mortgage, LLC

Industry practitioners in lending and policy discuss the research and recommendations in the recently released paper “ADU Construction Financing: Opportunities to Expand Access for Homeowners.”

The joint paper, produced by the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, compiles national data and stakeholder interviews to provide a picture of the hurtles to financing and what barriers could be removed to bring ADU construction to scale.

Included in the discussion:

  • Recent updates to Freddie Mac’s ADU policies
  • How friction during financing curtails homeowner commitment
  • Appraisal gaps in accurately assessing ADU value
  • How lenders see contractors mitigating financial risk
  • The importance of targeted consumer protections as more data emerges


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Geopolitics, Monetary Policy and Real Estate

May 9, 2022
Richard K. Green
Richard K. Green | Director, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate

Richard Green (Director, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate) delivers a presentation on how the ongoing conflict in Ukraine could impact the global economic trajectory as many countries, including the United States, attempt to cool inflation without triggering a recession.

Green dives into more specific factors contributing to the USA’s resiliency or vulnerability to global economic shocks. He shares data on why Cap Rates are likely to increase in the future, the trends economists look for with the revitalization of goods and services spending, how real estate impacts inflation, and which US states boast more robust infrastructure to weather any potential global economic downturns. Green also fields questions on affordable housing, the global aging workforce, commercial mortgage rates, and more.

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Getting Stuff Done - A Different Approach to Solving Problems in Los Angeles

April 26, 2022
Austin Beutner
Austin Beutner | Founder and Chair, Vision to Learn

Austin Beutner joins Richard Green for a discussion on what it takes to accomplish real change in Los Angeles. 

Beutner asserts that the twin forces of leadership and governance have the power to solve many of the ongoing and intensifying issues in the county like homelessness, education, and land use. As Superintendent of LAUSD during the pandemic, Beutner oversaw unprecedented responses like providing free food for the community, securing broadband internet access and devices for students in need, and providing reliable and cost-effective COVID testing for the nation’s second-largest school district. Other school districts in 40 states across the country adopted the models LAUSD pioneered to meet their own community needs.

With that crisis response as the groundwork, Green and Beutner cover such topics as the inherent limits to the Los Angeles mayoral office, what structures hold back the capacity for LA County to respond effectively, and Beutner’s latest project: a ballot initiative to bring the arts to all schools in California, Vote Arts and Minds.

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Rethinking Health Policy in America

April 5, 2022
Dana Goldman
Dana Goldman | Dean, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Dana Goldman joins Richard K. Green to provide a look into how the economics of health care contribute to decisions about health policy and the strides that medicine is still making to close gaps in access to care.

Pulling from a variety of case studies, Dean Goldman shows why markets don’t always work in providing the most cost-efficient care, the economic balance between encouraging innovators and ensuring affordability, and the different ways policymakers and patients determine the value of health. Green and Goldman discuss the evolution of treatments for end-of-life care and the risk of relying solely on philanthropy or intrinsically motivated actors to drive innovation. Goldman also provides potential alternatives to the current systems to increase healthcare access and keep medical science moving forward.

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