We are delighted to announce that Dayin Zhang has joined the Department of Real Estate faculty as an assistant professor. Zhang recently completed his Ph.D. in degree in Finance and Real Estate at the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley. His research interests broadly lie in the intersection between financial intermediation and household finance. He brings a unique mix of innovative research, teaching expertise, and dedication to the business community— in other words, he’s an excellent fit for the Wisconsin Real Estate program.
“Dayin brings great expertise in real estate, household finance, and macroeconomics. The breadth of his research competence makes him a great complement to our current faculty members,” says Department Tim Riddiough. “Once again, we are fortunate to have landed a new faculty member who will not only perform research at the frontier of science but also have positive interactions with students, real estate professionals and policymakers.”
In the interview below, Zhang shares some of his specific research pursuits and explains why he is looking forward to being a part of the Wisconsin Real Estate Program.
What are your research interests?
My research interests lie in real estate, household finance, and macroeconomics.
Is there a topic within the field that most excites you?
The most exciting topic for me is how the architecture of financial intermediation affects household access to credit. For example, my dissertation evaluates a government funding program in support of the primary mortgage lending market–Federal Home Loan Banks, and finds it increases local market competition by alleviating small banks’ financial constraints. Quantitatively, I estimate that, by increasing market competition, the Federal Home Loan Banks increase mortgage lending by $50 billion and save borrowers $4.7 billion in interest payments every year.
What started your initial interest in real estate?
Economics is quite a practical field of science. The importance of the questions is always the priority when picking research topics. The field of real estate is full of important economic issues by its nature. From the micro perspective, real estate is the largest component for most individuals’ asset portfolio, and buying a home is probably the most important and complicated personal finance decision in their lives. From a macro perspective, real estate assets outweigh other categories of financial assets in both the financial industry and the national capital account. And a good understanding of the real estate problems will help us build a connection between micro- and macro-economics, which is often seen as the “missing link” in modern economics.
What convinced you to join the UW Real Estate faculty?
It is an easy decision. UW has one of the top real estate programs in the world, with the top-notch researchers. It is always my dream and a great honor to be a faculty member of the program.
What are you looking forward to experiencing in Madison and at UW-Madison?
As I have said, the real estate department is full of brilliant talents, whom I hope to closely work with. Other than the real estate faculties, there are many superb professors that I have great respect for in the School of Business and the Economics Department. I will take advantage of the geographic proximity and build strong collaborative relationships with them.
And for life, there is more to look forward to. Every friend of mine has expressed different degrees of jealousy of me after they learned I would move to Madison. I cannot wait to show them the beautiful pictures of the lakes and the crazy snows in the winter.
Do you have any hobbies or interests that are outside your research?
I am very into sports, and like to bike and play soccer. My day usually started with a tough biking journey to the campus when I studied at Berkeley. Since the campus is quite up on the hill, it took me a lot of energy to get to my office and I would be completely wet. When I started to work after the 30-minute ride, my mentality was that I had to spend every minute to the fullest for the rest of the day, since I had worked so hard to come here. And that mentality really helped me through my graduate school. So biking is not only a good exercise but efficiency-improving for work.