It is hard to ignore the lead real-estate stories in the Wall St. Journal (5/7/2014).
The first story, p.1 , finds that in Cleveland and other cities there is high demand for inner-city apartments. Office spaces are being converted into apartments to meet the new demand.
Developers Turn Former Office Buildings Into High-End Apartments – WSJ.com.
The second story, p. c1, is that there is a real-estate slump in Hong Kong. New complexes are not seeing the buyers (but the prices, at US$2,500 a square foot) might be a deterrent.
But, the real story, p. c10, brings the two stories together. In Hong Kong buyers are showing a preference for vintage apartments, built from say 1960 to 1980. These units do not look as pretty on the outside, but they have more space and better layouts. People don’t seem to care if their residence lacks a clubhouse or a gym.
So, what does that have to do with Cleveland and the surge in apartments there? As younger people move out of the suburbs and discover more urban settings, they take with them an affinity for more eclectic spaces, openness, charm, and some garden greenery.
And finally, a local story for a change….Somewhat like the Google bus and other private shuttles that operate in San Francisco, a kid/entrepreneur in Brookline’s Mass. Coolidge Corner says he will start a “pop up” bus service in May, 2014. The service called “Bridg” will be a supplement to Boston’s MBTA service. The kid/entrepreneur , Matthew George, compiles data of where peopel live and work, and uses it to create a more direct bus service. “Bridg” (a.k.a., not Bridget) seems ambitious, with plans to expand the service”every week” (Brookline Tab, 4/16/2014). But, it did receive startup financing- just like SF!
Perhaps this is a throw back to a much earlier time when there was competition in mass transportation . Depending on its success, the concept could move the Boomers from their surburban and exurb houses into the mainstream.
chart: Atlantic Cities
In “Houses of Boom” we ask where the buyers are going to come from to purchase those large, remote suburban properties. Who will want to move into the supersized family homes preferred by the Baby Boomers?
It doesn’t appear that it will be Millennials. In this chart, from Atlantic Cities (4/24/13), there is a comparison of attitudes about renting versus buying. It is based on a poll of 1453 adults. People who say they prefer to rent are more likely to live in the suburbs or rural areas, and they are younger. The study, which was sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation highlights that there may be large changes underfoot about house ownership; these preferences are not based solely on economics.
“…The amount of new retail space across the U.S. has remained relatively flat in recent years, but New York’s Bronx borough has emerged as a hot spot.At least five major shopping malls or centers are under way in the Bronx that will add more than 1.4 million square feet of space, one of the largest local retail expansions in the country…..”
Bronx Emerges as a Retail Oasis – WSJ.com. (2/25/2014)
Why? businesses following consumers back to the urban core of cities as they search for new markets….