This story was originally published in the Wichita Eagle newspaper on July 17, 2008

Analyst works to help buyers and sellers connect

by Bill Wilson

Jason Van Sickle's job title at Wichita State University's Center for Real Estate is research analyst. But as the center's first full-time employee besides director Stan Longhofer, Van Sickle's job is to help the center connect with Wichita area residential and commercial real estate buyers and sellers.

Van Sickle, who has worked in residential and commercial real estate in Wichita, has already helped fine-tune the center's website.

He also will help coordinate and analyze residential and commercial real estate data in the area, with the intent of getting it to professional and personal users.

The goal, Longhofer said last week, is a one-stop datebase for the real estate industry.

"The big thing is getting people involved," Van Sickle said. "We want to get all of the information that we can collect into people�s hands so they can make informed decisions about the market."

The center's expansion of services has the endorsement of Gary Miller, WSU's provost and vice president for academic affairs and research.

"It's important to the university's urban-serving research mission," he said.

"Universities and business schools have an obligation to serve the community, provide analysis and interpret the economic landscape. Centers like this one are very important to that mission."

The CRE website includes local, regional and national real estate headlines and a one-click tour of the center's studies, speeches and resources.

One section of the site targets home owners and buyers, including information, homes for sale by neighborhood, home prices, and home equity and loan calculators.

"The goal is to inform and educate with the latest real estate trends," Van Sickle said.

"We want to provide real estate people in the industry with information on the market, and we want to provide information that makes the market transparent to outside investors."

Most of the database is tailored to the residential real estate sector, Van Sickle said.

"We have more residential data available because the commercial side is more closed, but we do compile the Grubb and Ellis and Weigand data on commercial real estate," he said.