4 big real estate trends

WASHINGTON – Feb. 1, 2016 – What should you watch for this year? The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently released its "Emerging Trends in Real Estate" report covering the U.S. and Canada.

Here are trends ULI says Realtors should have on their radar screen:

1. Rising mortgage rates

The rising interest rate is expected to be a mantra this year.
"The underlying question is how the generation whose entire business career has been shaped by a low-interest-rate environment will respond to the upward movement in the price of money," ULI's report notes. "Will higher rates alter behaviors, to what degree, and at what threshold?"

2. Generation X leadership

Gen Xers – those born between 1965 and 1980 – are due to take charge in real estate.
"They are in a good position, in a way, as they are the ones whom the boomers should be grooming for management succession," according to ULI. "But they came of age in the aftermath of the savings-and-loan crisis, in dire times for real estate. Few came into the business during the early 1990s, and even fewer have the benefit of real estate graduate education. Watch for the implications for leadership in the industry going forward."

3. The Fair Housing Act and "the affordability crisis"

The U.S. Supreme Court says that local communities can take legal action to address disparities in housing, even if those disparities are unintentional.
Also, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) now requires local communities to "affirmatively further" equal housing opportunity. Communities risk losing federal housing funds if they don't comply.
"This could alter where affordable housing is built, and where households in need of such housing may move," the report notes. What's more, ULI predicts that given the recent U.S. Supreme Court and HUD rulings, a heated debate on multifamily development will likely ensue this year.

4. Drought impact

The western part of the U.S. – particularly California – is facing a historic drought, but the impact will likely be felt throughout the U.S. For example, "as irrigation has become more problematic and costly, so too have food prices for crops ranging from almonds and artichokes to pistachios and raisins," the report notes. That will bring about a decline in farmland prices.
Also, semiconductor plants require large amounts of water, as do the snow-making machines at ski resorts. "Cities whose economic energy has been driven by population increases must confront limits on growth that are defined by water availability and cost," the report notes. "Although a strong El NiƱo for the winter of 2015-2016 is forecast to bring much-needed rain, the water deficit west of the 100th Meridian is a factor that real estate should watch closely in the years ahead."

Source: "Emerging Trends in Real Estate," Urban Land Institute (2016)
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