Global City Makers
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Global City Makers

Economic Actors and Practices in the World City Network

Edited by Michael Hoyler, Christof Parnreiter and Allan Watson

Global City Makers provides an in-depth account of the role of powerful economic actors in making and un-making global cities. Engaging critically and constructively with global urban studies from a relational economic geography perspective, the book outlines a renewed agenda for global cities research. Focusing on financial services, management consultancy, real estate, commodity trading and maritime industries, the detailed studies in this volume are located across the globe to incorporate major world cities such as London, New York and Tokyo as well as globalizing cities including Mexico City, Hamburg and Mumbai.
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Chapter 5: Global cities, local practices: intermediation in the commercial real estate markets of New York City and London

David Scofield


In the commercial real estate markets of New York and London, transaction costs are high due to the private nature of the markets, the heterogeneity of real assets, and the time it takes to acquire and dispose of property. Broker intermediaries provide knowledge of the asset, the market and the counterparty to the transaction and by doing so can increase trust between parties and improve market efficiency. However, the unique practice of intermediation observed in London wherein both seller and buyer typically retain broker representation can create significantly higher transaction costs compared to New York. Moreover, when two broker intermediaries ‘work a deal’, a ‘tri-dyad’ network structure forms in which those who work between become privy to all aspects of the investment, which creates a significant informational advantage for the intermediaries. The system of double brokerage creates a ‘tertius gaudens’ effect.

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