“People will always need a place to live, work and shop.” I say this often because sometimes I get the impression people think the opportunities in real estate investing are going away. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s knowing where the next opportunities are that is key.
So, what’s the “next big thing” in real estate? How can investors take advantage of changes in the housing industry for 2015 and beyond? It’s never been more important to be aware of new real estate trends and how they will impact your investment opportunities. Here are a few trends that I see coming our way that may lead to opportunity.
- NORC – Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities
- Smart/Green Homes
- Tiny Houses
- Walking Communities
NORC – Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities – these are communities that were not originally built for seniors, but as time has passed they are now home to a significant proportion of older residents.
America’s population is aging and that will only increase over the next 20 years. Because of that we are seeing a large growth in NORC communities. There are two broad categories:
Housing-based – Also known as “classic,” “closed,” “vertical,” these are located in a single age-integrated apartment building, housing complex with multiple buildings under common management, or an area where a number of apartment buildings are clustered together.
Neighborhood-based – Also known as “open” or “horizontal,” these are typically one and two family homes in age-integrated neighborhoods.
These communities evolve, they’re not planned. They evolve in various ways:
Age in place: Many communities house residents who raised families there decades ago and never left. They strongly wish to continue living in their homes.
Move into the community: A pattern of in-migration often brings seniors into age-integrated communities, typically in urban centers where seniors have access to amenities, culture and other activities.
Smart/Green Homes – What is a smart home? It is a commonly used term that defines a home that uses a “Home Controller” to integrate the home’s various automation systems. Integrating the home systems allows them to communicate with one another, thereby enabling single button and voice control of the various systems. An example would be using the system to turn on lights, TV and turn off the security system when you press one button on a remote as you approach your driveway.
Green Homes – To truly explore what a Green home is will take an article in its self (look for “What makes it Green” in a few weeks). But, quickly, the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) has established ICC (International Code Council) 700 National Green Building Standards. The standard defines green building for single and multifamily homes, residential remodeling projects and site development while still allowing for the flexibility required for regional appropriate best green practices.
Tiny Houses – If you watch the show Modern Family (so funny) there was an episode where a “very cool” homeless guy is found living in Cameron and Mitchell’s daughter’s play house. It made me think about these Tiny Houses. Since the 1950’s, the size of our homes have gotten progressively bigger; that was until two years ago when homes started to get smaller. Now, 100 to 450 square feet might seem extreme, but they are becoming more popular. They allow the owners to have quality but reduce the carbon footprint and simplify their lives. Check them out – //www.tumbleweedhouses.com
Walking Communities – We still love cars but many generations are moving toward the desire to live in a community where you’re not forced to get in your car. I use a website called www.WalkScore.com in our OTA Real Estate classes to help us determine what the walk-ability of the property is. This is a growing trend in not only Gen X but also in Baby Boomers as they want to leave the big houses and simplify their life styles. Research shows that for every point a property is of Walk Score is worth up to $3,000 of value for your property.
I hope this list has got you thinking about the changes that are coming and how you can be on the leading edge.
Diana D. Hill