It’s been a very interesting past few years for everyone, including the real estate industry.  I look forward to sharing with you during the next few months a series of articles that will feature different perspectives, future trend observations and current updates about real estate activities from national, regional and local levels.  

One of the positive results of the recession is that it has allowed the American family to reconnect.  As we enter into what many refer to as the ‘new normal,’ it will be important for all in the real estate and development sectors to understand the on-going changes in household composition.  

According to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), today 14 percent of households are multi-generational families (parents, children and grandchildren) and that number is expected to continue to rise.  Don’t forget about the Boomers, as it is anticipated they will both ‘wave’ toward warmer-weather destinations like Arizona as well as a significant percentage who remain within their current locale or move to be near their children and grandchildren.  The 20-somethings, Generation Y, prefer price-friendly dwellings in more closely connected urban-like settings that are situated along transit routes convenient to their jobs.  And somewhere in that mix are the ‘baby busters,’ Generation X, now in their thirties and early forties comfortably situated within suburban settings.

Again, referencing a recent ULI report, the coming decade presents a pivot point for the cumulative endeavors of community building.  The rapidly evolving social composition of communities has a more powerful reach and not only reframes a neighborhood or state but also triggers new markets, new opportunities and new products and services.  Their conclusion is the real estate world is hurtling into a different place and time.  Change is coming at a faster pace and success will take on different forms.  Markets will become very segmented and specialized – allowing builders and developers to become even more sophisticated in creating home plans and communities to meet these many varied demands.

Andy Warren is President of Maracay Homes, the Arizona subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company.  He serves on the Board of Directors for the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona; the Board of Director and as an Executive Committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute.

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