While much research effort has been spent on pricing issues in real estate comparatively little consideration has been given to the analysis of how real estate markets function and market structures evolve. This is surprising considering that the market and its structure inevitably underpins and impacts on pricing. Market structures condition behaviour, determine incentives and ultimately influence performance. This paper attempts to address some of these issues through a critical analysis of the respective merits and applicability of traditional and institutional approaches to the analysis of markets and market structures in real estate. The objectives are also to clarify the deficiencies in existing approaches and to assess their potential to contribute to core real estate knowledge. The insights gained from this analysis are used to interpret contemporary possess of change in the real estate market as a means of assessing the practical relevance of a ëmarketí focused approach to research and analysis. The paper concludes with an assessment of the issues identified for the future direction of real estate research in this area.