||If context is everything, can a comparative approach produce any meaningful contribution? For research in real estate, focusing on the principles of real estate markets (e.g. Dent et al., 2012), real estate development (e.g. Miles et al., 2007; Peiser & Hamilton, 2012), and real estate finance and investment (e.g. Brueggeman & Fisher, 2010) are often geographically bounded and/or specific to a sector or market. Hence, to a certain degree these studies lack full potential to explain and comprehend the interdependency, complexity and challenges of real estate development. Adams & Tiesdell (2012) provided a thorough conceptual overview of real estate development characteristics in relation to planning on an urban scale - although these matters are not comparatively drawn.However, in a globalizing world, it seems appropriate for scholars and practitioners to obtain a better understanding by comparing the various international real estate development contexts they wish to study or work in (Barkham, 2012). An institutional approach to international real estate has been one such leap to comparatively examine some aspects of development in different geographical contexts (Seabrooke et al, 2004). This may help to move beyond technocratic real estate valuation and appraisal methods, towards a wider understanding of how the conditions for real estate development become effective in different markets. Moreover, in the light of the enduring economic stagnation in Western countries, there seems to be an increased need for and interest in new perspectives and insights from successful foreign real estate development practices, as valuable lessons might be drawn from them. Nevertheless, such a comparative international perspective on real estate development provides some research challenges in terms of methodology. Therefore, first this paper examines the methodological challenges of international comparative and lesson-drawing research (e.g. Heurkens, 2012). Second, it provides a comparative model containing various characteristics and criteria by which different real estate development contexts in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Africa can be compared. Finally, the paper illustrates the applicability and limitations of such comparative model by using some examples of international real estate development practices.