Headlines – Week of October 17, 2010

October 25, 2010

Entering the Era of Less

Each year, the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers issue a report called Emerging Trends in Real Estate.  The 2011 report is titled, Entering the Era of Less.

The report is based on 875 confidential interviews and surveys with industry leaders.

While next year will see continued thawing of lending markets, increased transaction volumes, and decent though tempered investment returns, the report’s title predicts an Era of Less.

The Era of Less offers diminished prospects for the overall U.S. economy as we dig out from our self created debt oblivion.  The report predicts a shrunken industry, lower overall performance expectations, restrained development, and crimped profits.

Real estate outlooks will be restrained by sustained high unemployment and Americans’ more austere lifestyle choices now that spending on credit has been significantly curtailed.

Living and working in the Less Era means using less space per capita. Not only is consumer binging over, but e-commerce gradually eats into the share of bricks and mortar retail. Distribution strategies change; generally reducing the need for as much warehouse space. Companies squeeze down space per employee and find productivity enhancements, not only by using smaller cubicle and office layouts, but also relying more on freelancers who can work from home and off-shoring strategies to reduce costs. Technology will also reduce the need for support personnel.

This trend for less space also extends to housing. More seniors living with their children and grandchildren as families pool resources. Many retirees will not be able to live on their own with depleted pensions and lost house values.

Young adults find fewer and less remunerative jobs opportunities as they can’t afford to get their own place. One analyst describes a return to “The Waltons” style households for many families. As a result, people will look to cut commuting, housing, and heating costs by living in smaller places closer to work. We’ll see more demand for apartments and infill housing and less for big houses in the subsurbs.

Full Article

Where Do Most People Want to Live?

If you could live in any state, except the one you live in now, what state would you choose to live in?

The firm Harris Interactive in one of their Harris Polls has asked this question every year since 1997. Over the last seven surveys, Hawaii and Florida have jockeyed for second and third places behind California, while other states have moved up and down below them

While California tops the list of most popular states to live in among Echo Boomers (now ages 18 to 33) and Gen Xers (ages 34 to 45), Hawaii is the top pick for Baby Boomers (ages 46 to 64) and Matures (ages 65 and over). Among Echo Boomers, Hawaii drops out of the top five.

Here are the top-10 states across ALL age groups:

1. California

2. Hawaii

3. Florida

4. Colorado

5. Arizona

6. North Carolina

7. Oregon

8. Texas

9. New York

10. Washington

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Alternatives to Pricey Retirement Locales

Even with their retirement nest eggs diminished by the tough economy, some retirees aren’t giving up on their dreams of living in beautiful spots. Instead, they are searching for similar but cheaper alternatives.

SmartMoney calls these locales “doppelgangers” — more affordable twins with similar climate, culture, and amenities than their better-known other half.

Here are their suggested substitutes:

● Prescott, Ariz., as an alternative to Sedona, Ariz.

● St. Augustine, Fla., instead of Sarasota, Fla.

● Chattanooga, Tenn., instead of Ashville, N.C.

● Bloomington, Ind., instead of Madison, Wis.

● Caron City, Nev., instead of Boulder, Colo.

● Auburn, Ala., instead of Pinehurst, N.C.

● Bellingham, Wash., instead of Eugene, Ore.

● San Luis Obispo, Calif., instead of Santa Barbara, Calif.

 Full Article

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

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