The origins of the “three rules” of real estate call into question whether location should be viewed as the most important characteristic when evaluating real estate. At the 17th Annual CU Real Estate Forum, Gunnar Branson highlighted William Safire’s research on the origins of the phrase “location, location, location.” According to Safire’s research, the earliest record of the phrase was in a 1926 real estate classified ad in the Chicago Tribune: “Attention salesmen, sales managers: location, location, location, close to Rogers Park.”. As Branson points out, the irony of this link between location and Rogers Park is that property values in Rogers Park are significantly lower than the surrounding neighborhoods despite its proximity to Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago.
Branson argues that the phrase “location, location, location” does not provide the complete picture and is too simple as a framework for evaluating real estate. According to Branson, the three new rules of real estate are density, diversity and shared ownership. This analysis certainly seems to hold true as we continue to see more and more mixed use, dense development in our cities.