Five Real Estate Trends Drive Market in Uncertain Economy
Green building and design is one of today’s top five real estate and development trends, according to Giffels-Webster Engineers, a civil engineering firm based in Michigan.
“Although real estate as a whole continues to struggle, developers, civil engineers and architects can remain healthy by working diligently and creatively to stay on top of new market drivers,” which go beyond single-family homes in the suburbs, said Keith Meyer, president and CEO of Giffels-Webster.
As reported in the Winter 2008 edition of NAHB’s Land Development magazine, the trends expected to produce the most industry growth moving forward are:
- Green Building and Design. Increased pressure on communities and businesses to promote more environmentally sound designs has led developers to incorporate more green elements into their projects. A plan to develop a parcel of land for retail might include green roofs, rain gardens or gutter water retention and irrigations systems. Certified environmental experts soon will become “must-have” team members.
- Assisted Living Centers. These are on the rise due to higher life expectancies and the influx of aging baby boomers. To help seniors lead independent lives in non-institutionalized environments, these projects are designed to incorporate nature trails, community dining areas, exercise facilities, music rooms, libraries, salons and billiard game rooms. Opportunities exist to work with both private developers and public government-funded projects.
- Hospital Expansions and Education Campus Additions. The hospital and education expansion trend is fueled by institutional projects funded through corporate gifts and endowments. These “recession-proof” resources mean these projects go on even during economic downturns. While single-family home building has slowed, this market segment moves forward with plentiful building and capital improvement.
- Mixed-Use Developments. Mixed-use developments are popular today because they reduce risk for the developer during an uncertain economy. Retail and residential can adjoin each other, and it’s common to see large, national retailers combined with smaller, boutique-type stores, as well as housing varying by size, budget and amenities. With this approach, the developer’s investment is spread across the spectrum so that it remains viable even if one segment does not perform as expected.
- Urban Revitalization. In an effort to attract and keep people in their communities, municipalities and townships are working to make downtowns, retail hubs and central business districts more inviting and accessible to pedestrians. Streetscape improvements — including attractive landscaping, decorative streetlights, brick sidewalk pavers and strategically planned parking areas — are examples.
Land Development magazine is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
For more information on NAHB resources on land development and design, e-mail Jennifer Jones, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8469.