Photo of Susan M Wachter

Susan M Wachter

Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate

Professor of Finance

Research Interests: housing finance, real estate economics, urban economics

Links: CV, Personal Website

Contact Information

Address: 430 Vance Hall, 3733 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 898-6355




Real Estate Markets - Jones Lang LaSalle;  Mortgage Insurance Markets - GE Financial.

Career and Recent Professional Awards; Teaching Awards

American Real Estate and Urban Economics Lifetime Achievement Award 2005; American Real Estate and Urban Economics Best International Paper Award 1995; Undergraduate Division Excellence in Teaching Award, 1991; Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, 1975; Anvil Award for Teaching Excellence, 1974

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1972-present; named Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate July 2013;  (Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management, 2003-2013); Chairperson, Real Estate Department, 1997-2000; Director, Wharton Geographical Information Systems Lab, 1995-present). University of Pennsylvania: (Co-director of Penn Institute for Urban Research, 2004-Present; Professor of City and Regional Planning, 1995-present; Ombudsman, 1987-90). Previous appointment: Bryn Mawr College. Visiting appointment: Singapore Management University (Celia Moh Visiting Professor, 2004)

Professional Leadership

Board of Editors, Journal of Housing Economics, 2003-present; Board of Editors, Housing Policy Debate, 2003-present; Board of Editors, Journal of Real Estate and Finance, 2003-present; Board of Editors, Journal of Real Estate Research, 2004-present; Board of Editors, Journal of Housing Research, 2006; Homer Hoyt Institute Faculty Fellow, 2003-present

Corporate and Public Sector Leadership

Global Urban Development Advisory Board; National Research Council Review Board on HUD Research 2008; Advisory Board for Regulatory Research, National Association of Homebuilders, 2005-2006; Board of Directors, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, 2003-2006; Blue Ribbon Committee on Housing Finance, 2005-2006


  • Arthur Acolin, Laurie S. Goodman, Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), A Renter or Homeowner Nation?.    Abstract
  • Arthur Acolin, Jesse Bricker, Paul Calem, Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), Borrowing Constraints and Homeownership.    Abstract
  • Arthur Acolin, Jesse Bricker, Paul Calem, Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), Borrowing Constraints and Homeownership over the Recent Cycle.    Abstract
  • Arthur Acolin, Raphael Bostic, Xudong An, Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), Homeownership and the Use of Nontraditional and Subprime Mortgages.  
  • Adam Levitin, Susan M Wachter (2015), Second Liens and the Leverage Option , Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 68 (2015).
  • Adam Levitin, Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), Second-LIens and the Leverage Option.
  • Andrey Pavlov, Susan M Wachter, Albert Zevelev (2015), Transparency in the Mortgage Market , Journal of Financial Services Research
  • Susan M Wachter, Lawrence Brown, Nagaraja, C. (2014), (forthcoming) Repeat Sales House Price Index Methodology, Journal of Real Estate Literature
  • Andrey D. Pavlov, Eva M. Steiner, Susan M Wachter (2014), Macroeconomic Risk Factors and the Role of Mispriced Credit in the Returns from International Real estate Securities, Real Estate Economics  
  • Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), The Housing and Credit Bubbles in the US and Europe: A Brief Comparison.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter (Work In Progress), The Market Structure of Securitisation and the US Housing Bubble.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Arthur Acoca, Shahana Chattaraj (Work In Progress), Urban Governance and Development of Informality in China and India.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Andrey Pavlov, Eva M. Steiner (Work In Progress), Real Estate Investment and Leverage: In Good Times and in Bad.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Daniel Raff, Se Yan (2013), Real Estate Prices in Beijing, 1644 to 1840, Explorations in Economic History, Volume 50, 335 - 462.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Adam Levitin (2013), The Commercial Real Estate Bubble, Harvard Business Law Review, 3 (Summer 2013), 83 - 118.
  • Susan M Wachter, Albert Saiz (2011), Immigration and the Neighborhood, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Vol. 3, 169 - 188.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Andrey Pavlov (2010), Subprime Lending and Real Estate Prices, Real Estate Economics  Abstract
  • Adam Levitin, Susan M Wachter (2010), Explaining the Housing Bubble, Wharton Real Estate Center Working Paper  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Andrey Pavlov (2009), Mortgage Put Options and Real Estate Markets, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 89-103.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Grace Wong Bucchianeri (2008), What is a Tree Worth? Green City Strategies and Housing Prices, Real Estate Economics, Vol. 36, 213 - 239.  Abstract
  • Susan M Wachter, Andrey Pavlov (2006), The Inevitability of Market-Wide Underpriced Risk, Real Estate Economics, 479-496.  Abstract

Awards And Honors

  • American Real Estate and Urban Economics Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005
  • Presidential Appointment, Senate Confirmation, Assistant Secretary, HUD, 1998-2001
  • Best Published Paper (Real Estate Economics), 1996

In The News

Knowledge @ Wharton



  • FNCE399 - Supervised Study in Finance

    Integrates the work of the various courses and familiarizes the student with the tools and techniques of research.

  • REAL215 - Urban Real Estate Economics

    Urban Real Estate Economics uses economic concepts to analyze real estate markets, values and trends. The course focuses on market dynamics in the U.S. and internationally, with an emphasis on how urban growth and local and federal government policies impact urban development and real estate pricing. A group development project gives hands on experience, and invited guest speakers bring industry knowledge. Besides the group project and presentation, problem sets are required along with a midterm and an optional second exam.

  • REAL236 - International Housing Comparisons

    This course focuses on international comparisons of housing finance systems and housing market outcomes. This includes comparative analyses of the financial and economic factors that underlay housing market differences and similarities. Changing housing market institutions and policies in developed and emerging economies are examined. The course also addresses the implications of the integration of global financial markets for national housing markets. International speakers present their views on institutional innovations and the policy setting process in their respective markets. Various approaches to understanding these issues will be used, including readings, written assignments, and group projects.

  • REAL399 - Independent Study

    All independent studies must be arranged and approved by a Real Estate department faculty member with the exception of the Annual Student Research Competition.

    Annual Student Research Seminar: This class meets in the Spring semester to analyze how to conduct research in the real estate market - where to find data; how to critique research; how to frame research questions; how to write a business research report; how to present a business research report. Topics are provided each year. For more information regarding the Annual Student Research Competition see the Real Estate Department's website: