Commonwealth Focus: Demographic Trends

by c21commonweath_ldowling 19. November 2014 14:35

Shifting population trends are a hallmark of America’s success and evolution. They spell opportunity for real estate professionals who understand the coming changes and tap into networks of rapidly growing ethnic groups, emerging economic sectors like the ‘knowledge’ economy or even age groups that experienced large birth rates. Here are some trends to watch in the coming years.

The Rise of Asian and Latino Markets

The country’s Asian population grew to 19.4 million last year, making this group on e of the fastest growing in the country. Latinos are an even larger population segment, with 54 million reported in the last Census. The Latino population accounted for 2.6 million first-time home owners during the past decade, the single-largest segment of newly minted buyers.

Both groups are known for well-organized community groups and networks that welcome those with an interest in learning about their heritage. For example, the Winchester School of Chinese teaches the language and culture of China through arts and cultural events. The Boston Spanish Language Meet Up organization in Cambridge hosts meetings weekly for its nearly 3,000 members.

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Both the Latino and Asian populations actively support cultural media outlets. For example, the El Mundo Spanish-language is in New England and is distributed to 21 cities around Boston. The Sampan newspaper, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in the region, reaches 24,000 households, including many on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Both offer translation services for advertising.

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The Millennial Boom

Millennials, or Americans born between 1982 and 2004, are the single largest group of citizens in the United States, even if many of them aren’t old enough to vote. While few are of home-buying age, and even fewer are able to purchase homes following the Great Recession, experts predict this group will have an outsized influence on the housing economy in the next 5 to 10 years. Researchers note that this generation tends to be civic minded yet insulated from society’s institutions, value wealth yet may not have the temperament to climb the corporate ladder, and want to create change yet lack a focus for that ideal.

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 Even with large student loan debt ratios and tight credit, Millennials’ outlook on home ownership is expected to grow, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Key factors in Millennials’ purchasing decisions tend to center on lifestyle choices, not economic standing. Surveys show that Millennial will settle for smaller living spaces in exchange for desirable locations and access to preferred amenities, retail areas and entertainment. In particular, Millennials who are old enough to purchase homes tend to live within close proximity of restaurants, bars and shopping outlets.