Reshaping the housing market?
The Urban Land Institute Oregon recently advertised a workshop to the Oregon development community: "In the wake of the financial crisis and the great recession, sweeping structural changes are reshaping the housing market. Generation Y and the retiring Baby Boomers will be the catalysts for the next wave of housing development." The workshop promoters asked, “Are you ready to meet this demand?”
The speakers from the development community all pointed to the market demand being urban and transit-oriented; and for the time being, rental rather than homeownership. Some quotes:
"They have less money than any generation, but are well-educated, well connected and very urban. The cities that do it best for young creatives will thrive." –John McIlwain, ULI
"Gen Y has no interest in the suburbs! They value being close to friends and don’t want to commute. You can bet on transit-related locations." –Clyde Holland, Holland Partners
"Gen Y wants smaller, greener housing. They want to live in the city and take responsibility for their carbon footprint." –Jim Winkler, Winkler Development
A few months earlier, ULI’s Young Leaders Group had attested to this same wave in its sessions and focused all its conference field trips close to the urban core along transit corridors of Portland, Oregon. At least one of that conference’s participants brought his suburban developer dad along as well—perhaps to learn new skills.
In April 2011, ULI Oregon sponsored two of its national leaders at talks held at Metro on such impressive topics as: "Carbon, Development & Growth: Navigating New Frameworks for Real Estate, Planning, Transportation," and "The Economy: Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times" (ULI is the preeminent think tank of the real estate industry). Ed McMahon and Michael Horst both indicated that the pendulum is swinging re: how we invest housing dollars. The trend is towards walkable, mixed use neighborhoods with transit—and towards green building.