I apply traditional economic concepts to real estate markets in an effort to describe, explain and predict patterns of price, supply and demand.

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CHIEF ECONOMIST
Matthew Gardner

What do you do? As chief economist for Windermere Real Estate [based in Seattle], I apply traditional economic concepts to real estate markets in an effort to describe, explain and predict patterns of price, supply and demand. Then I figure out how to convey that information in a way that all 7,000 Windermere agents can understand and apply to their business. Our agents pride themselves on having a high level of expertise, so part of my job is to ensure that the information they have is accurate, meaningful and timely.

How did you get started in that field? Economics appeals to my warped love of numbers! When I started 25 years ago, residential real estate analysis — outside of academia — was a pretty thin field, but I thought that it was something that would become more important over time and, thankfully, I was right.

What’s a typical day like? There’s no such thing! But it usually starts with analyzing the day’s numbers and applying those to different aspects of the business, such as potential expansion markets for Windermere or trying to predict when millennials will start buying homes. But whatever the day brings, it almost always includes some thoughtful discussion, research and an attempt to put words to paper, highlighting the discoveries of the day.

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What’s the best part of the job? The variety it offers. I am fortunate that my job affords me considerable time and resources to really dig into the issues that surround local and regional real estate markets and provide thoughtful opinions. When one really loves what they do, the ability to do it to the extent that one feels that a topic has been thoroughly explored, vetted and understood is very satisfying.

What surprises people about your work? I think it surprises people how much I love my work. Economics isn’t considered very “sexy,” but the beauty of a well-working model and the predictability of well-understood trends are endlessly challenging and fascinating to me! To have landed at a place like Windermere, where everyone is passionate about what they do, is serendipitous for me and an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Here, everyone loves what they do as much as I do!

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