CCIM 50th Anniversary

50 Years of Significant Milestones

Learn how CCIM Institute and the CRE industry have evolved in the past 50 years.

  • Quick History Facts
  • Historical Milestones

1950s and 1960s


  • Introduction of Investment Property and Taxation  courses at the University of California at Los Angeles


  • Creation of the Commercial Property Exchange  designation at a meeting of three instructors and 50 students in Los Angeles


  • Birth of what became CCIM Institute
  • The founding fathers - Victor Lyon, CCIM, of Seattle and Jay Levine, CCIM, of San Francisco - taught the first national presentation of what later became the CI 101 course in Chicago.
  • 300 commercial real estate professionals were grandfathered as the first designees and members


  • CPE designation was changed to Certified Investment Member designation and four months later to Certified Commercial Investment Member designation.

Pivotal CRE Industry Events of the 1960s 

  •  Birth of the regional shopping mall
  •  Birth of national chain hotels
  •  Holiday Inn hotels built in 48 states
  •  Real estate syndications started which  later became REITs
  •  Boom around emerging categories, with corresponding changes in finance


  • For CCIM designees, skyscrapers provided an opportunity to raise rents and increase real estate values. Brokers benefited by having more business clients for the increase in leases and more opportunities to help investors.
  • Suburban communities raised the profiles of CCIM designees by identifying investors for shopping malls and hotels and helping CCIMs to serve in specialties, such as brokers, investors, attorneys, and appraisers.
  • CCIM Institute developed more CCIM courses to more rigorously train CCIM designees for the revolutionary changes in the CRE profession.


  • Introduction of the first hand-held HP financial calculator into CCIM Institute courses

1977 to 1978:

  • First formal auditions and training sessions held for course instructors

Pivotal CRE Industry Events of the 1970s 

  • 1970 to 1974: Construction of skyscrapers in major U.S. cities coast-to-coast resulted in 25 buildings taller than 50 stories.
  • 1970s: Suburban communities nationwide began to flourish, built on the edge of prominent cities.



  • Introduction of computers into the CCIM courses


  • Debut of the Commercial Investment Journal, which became Commercial Investment Real Estate 


  • CCIM courses first licensed to be delivered in Canada by the Canadian Real Estate Association 


  • Expanded CCIM curriculum to include User Brokerage for designation courses


  • First national CCIM Conference was held in San Francisco  with 600 attendees.

Pivotal CRE Industry Events of the 1980s

  • Commercial real estate was becoming out-of-control from the Savings and Loan Crisis and debt from junk bonds. It was a decade of excess. Analysis and careful deal writing were not in vogue. CCIMs were an exception and were calling for and conducting careful scrutiny of transactions to help minimize the risk.
  • The community lending market contracted from $150 billion to $1 billion.
  • 85% loan to value was not backed by real dollars.
  • In the midst of bad practices, CCIMs yelled stop at the irrational exuberance.
  • High leverage and bad analyses of demand  were rampant.
  • According to the Urban Land Institute, the office market doubled, and shopping centers were up 50%.



  • What is now CCIM Institute was  renamed the Commercial Investment  Real Estate Institute and became independent of RNMI and a direct institute affiliate of NAR.
  • Authorization of licensed delivery courses by CCIM chapters
  • The CIREI Education Foundation was established.
  • First international offering of CCIM courses beyond North America  held in Russia


  • The Institute reached a record high number  of 7,703 students.


  • BK Allen, CCIM, was the first woman elected Institute president.
  • First national website was created.


  • Launch of Site To Do Business, which uses multiple technology tools to prepare CCIMs to be competitive in the digital space of commercial real estate 

Pivotal CRE Industry Events of the 1990s 

  • The beginning of the decade was a reckoning for the excesses of the 1980s. CCIMs were a stabilizing presence in the industry. U.S. government formed the Resolution Trust Corporation to handle the assets of the failed savings and loans that the  FDIC could not manage on its own. These failed savings and loans had commercial properties on their books.
  • RTC sold $456 billion of property - the most in history. Organized vulture funds and Sam Zell's Equity Group Investments picked up the pieces.  It was a huge hit to U.S. taxpayers.
  • From the ashes of the RTC, the modern REIT  industry was born.
  • Big companies were Kimco and Crescent  Real Estate Equity.
  • Wall Street demanded new accountability and rigor from the commercial real estate industry.
  • The first clearinghouse for data opened.
  • After the party of the 1980s, CCIMs added a new layer of analysis to commercial real estate deals.

Early 2000s


  • Creation of the Body of Knowledge Committee to redesign curriculum and rewrite courses built on key competencies of CCIM designees


  • First class of the Jay W. Levine Leadership Development Academy


  • Organization of the Nondesignation Department  to deliver elective courses (renamed the Ward Center courses)

Pivotal CRE Industry Events During of the Early 2000s

  • CCIM Institute was positioned as the place to get the real story; the professional association understood the implications for the wider world.
  • CMBS market became massive and securitized many loans, which lessened scrutiny and increased risk for the economy.
  • Great Recession began at the end of 2008, which  is a reckoning for too much capital not being invested wisely. It marked the downfall of CMBS, the crash of Lehman Brothers, the U.S. banks bailout, and GM rescue, which positioned the U.S. government as savior.

2010 to 2017


  • First offering of an online core course


  • Introduction of the Community Caring concept and activities held locally and nationally each year.


  • First offering of blended core courses, combining the best of online and classroom study


  • CCIM Global Conference was held in Toronto, Oct. 15-16.

Pivotal CRE Industry Events During 2010 to 2017

  • Adapting to a shared economy with the rise of Airbnb and Uber, as well as big tech companies like Apple and Amazon. It marked the rise of e-commerce, smartphones, and social media, as well as grappling with major changes in the economy and society.
  • CCIM Institute is the place to go for the real story, which has implications for the wider world. CCIMs had optimism and knowledge amid the volatility.
  • CCIMs' stronghold was secondary and tertiary markets.
  • CCIMs helped clients with risk mitigation and  cycle reassurance.
  • Prizing higher risk, less liquidity in the market boded  well for CCIM Institute.
  • Return of manufacturing and property rights  in the U.S.
  • New types of commercial real estate  development arose.
  • Top economic academics served as consultants to major CRE firms.
  • Net lease specialty experts flourished.
  • Relevance of loan-to-deposit and loan-to-value ratios and cap rates for commercial property sales

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CCIMs learn from the most valuable mentors of all — their parents. Jeff Lyon, CCIM, remembers dinner table conversations when he was growing up. “My father was always talking about real estate,” he says. “He was so involved in the Institute over the years, so I always knew that that was my interest as well.”

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