In 2005, downtown infill housing is hot while cul-de-sacs are not, as traffic congestion has clogged suburbs nationwide, according to Emerging Trends In Real Estate 2005, a report jointly published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org).
New York City, Southern California, Southern Florida and Washington D.C. are the top markets, while for the third year in a row, the latter — dubbed a "recession-proof government Mecca" — outranks all other markets for investment, development, supply/demand balance and home building.
Most builders can find continued growth at the edges as inner-ring suburbs grow denser. Master planned communities will thrive most when they plan amenities and conveniences to cater to pedestrian and transportation ease, the report says.
The report strongly suggested that affluent baby boomers will continue to be home builders' best demographic bet. This group will drive the leisure/second home markets, as well as housing within two or three hours' driving distance of urban centers, since these buyers still work. Suburban boomers will continue to demand age-restricted, low-maintenance townhome developments.
The report is based on 500 surveys and interviews with lenders, developers, builders and related professionals.