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Global Demographics 2009- Shaping Real Estate’s Future, a Closer Look

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RISMEDIA, June 3, 2009-The long-term land use implications posed by population growth, urbanization, aging, and migration are examined in Global Demographics 2009: Shaping Real Estate’s Future, a new publication from the Urban Land Institute.

Global Demographics 2009, authored by M. Leanne Lachman, president, Lachman Associates, LLC in New York City and Deborah L. Brett of Deborah L. Brett & Associates in Plainsboro, N.J., is the second in an annual series that explores how demographic trends are affecting real estate investment and development decisions worldwide.

This year’s edition of the report, which will be published annually, discusses trends in the United States and the rest of the Americas; and it places a special emphasis on Europe and Africa (including the Middle East). Trends in Asia and Oceania are also covered. Key themes for this year include labor force, education, and productivity; personal income, purchasing power, and poverty; and retailing.

“Global Demographics 2009 is one of many products and services provided by ULI as part of its ongoing focus on sustainable urban areas,” said Rachelle Levitt, Executive Vice President for ULI’s Global Information Group and publisher of ULI’s publications. “This book reaffirms that population and demographic shifts will continue to place enormous pressure on urban areas around the globe. How cities are developed, how they welcome new residents, how they accommodate all income groups, and how they use energy and natural resources are all crucial elements of urban sustainability.”

Some highlights from Global Demographics 2009:

- Over the next 40 years, the greatest population increases worldwide will occur in China, India and the U.S.; while Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia will be the globe’s fastest growing regions.
- Europe is the one region of the world that will experience population declines between now and 2030.
- Mature but still growing economies (the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand) will offer attractive real estate investment and development prospects once the recession subsides.
- The developed world’s large workforce is aging rapidly, while the young labor pools in the Middle East, Africa and South Africa are expanding.
- Fertility rates have dropped globally, even in developing countries. As national economies improve and household incomes rise, fertility drops, children receive more education, and they find better jobs than their parents.
- Many developing nations are emerging consumer markets, with expanding numbers of moderate- and middle-income households generating enthusiastic consumer demand.
- Population growth is highest in the poorest countries (Yemen, Bangladesh, Haiti, Liberia, and Afghanistan) and they have the most difficulty reversing a cycle of abject poverty.
- In developing countries, the number of elderly is rising because of longevity gains, but their share of the total population is reduced by very large younger cohorts.

“Demographics are the foundation of real estate decision-making. Population, household, and income characteristics – and the direction of future trends – determine whether demand will exist for new housing or retail space, and household mobility suggests where that new space should be built. Growth in the labor force, as well as characteristics of its composition (age, education, skills, and mobility), strongly influence the success of office and industrial properties,” states the report.

“Although population growth is not an absolute prerequisite for successful investment and development, it certainly helps to work with rather than against trends…Meeting the demands of explosive, evolutionary growth requires sensitivity to urban form and sustainable designs – new communities that offer mixed uses, walkable environments, and access to jobs. The real estate implications of demographic changes around the world are enormous.”

M. Leanne Lachman is president of Lachman Associates, a real estate consulting firm serving private and institutional investors. She is a ULI governor; is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and The World Who’s Who of Women; and she received the James Graaskamp Award for pragmatic real estate research in 1997 from the Pension Real Estate Association.

Deborah L. Brett is a real estate and planning consultant for a wide range of public and private organizations, providing project-related market analyses. She is a longtime ULI member and a frequent contributor to its publications, including Real Estate Market Analysis: A Case Study Approach, used by real estate and planning programs at many universities.

Global Demographics 2009 (978-0-87420-123-9; Urban Land Institute, 2009) is available everywhere books are sold and through the Urban Land Institute at www.uli.org or by calling 1-800-321-5011. The price is $39.95 for ULI members and $59.95 for non-members.

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