Heretofore Unrelated Factors Key Real Estate Development

Article excerpt

Baby boomers, new tax laws, a changing demographicis, televison-fed buyers, cultural activities, social amenities, the middle-aging of America.

Now, more than ever, these seemingly unrelated factors will key real estate development.

And, individuals should defer real estate investments for at least a year until newly created investment vehicles complete their shake-out periods.

Those are the opinions of Leanne Lachman, managing director of Schroder Real Estate Associates of New York, who specializes in real estate asset management for pension funds.

Lachman was in Tulsa Thursday as keynote speaker for an Urban Land Institute seminar.

Because of the attitudes of the baby boomer group - those born during and shortly after World War II - real estate developments are changing, she said in a telephone interview before the seminar.

"The most important trend in real estate today is possibly the middle aging of America," she said.

"Nearly 78 million baby boomers are now mature, which gives us a much different population from the young audience we have been catering to the past 20 years.

"And, that's not going to change for awhile.

"In the next decade, at least half our population will be between the ages of 34 and 54. Before the end of this century, the age group between 75 and 84 will increase by 60 percent and the group older than 85 will increase by 163 percent," she said.

This population maturing will have a major impact on both commercial and residential development well into the 21st Century, she said.

"Malls will be developed or renovated to include decor appealing to the more mature shopper," she said.

"Social amenities such as child care centers near the home or office will be included in developments.

"More mature people will want to live closer to their work, so this will affect downtown housing, which may help with the revitilization of the downtown areas.

"Residential developments will include bigger and better homes for the more discerning mature person. More people will have second homes because they are entering the peak earning perids of their lives and will have more disposable income," she said.

More households with dual incomes will also have a major affect on retail sales, notably the emergence of out of store sales, she said.

"It's been said that 70 percent of America's households today have no adult at home during the day. That will add impetus to out of store sales, such as television and catalogue shopping, for this especially appeals to working people," she said.

Prime developments for the next few years, she said, will be retirement apartments which offer amenities for the elderly residents, such as transportation, at least one daily meal and on-site medical facilities. …