Forecast: Real Estate to ‘Grind It Out’


By Conor Dougherty
Wall Street Journal

DENVER – Virtually every leg of the real-estate sector will show some improvement in the coming year, but a still-slow economic recovery marked by tepid job and income growth will continue to weigh on the sector, according to the Urban Land Institute’s 2013 forecast released today at the group’s fall meeting here.

“What drives real estate is jobs. Our global economy has been recovering slowly,” said Stephen Blank, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit concerned with land development issues. “We’re going to grind it out.”

The Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends forecast — a survey of some 900 of the group’s 30,000 members — is prepared with PwC and has been released annually for 34 years. The report, which covers a broad swath of the real estate market including the housing, office and industrial sectors, makes predictions about what will happen with real estate in the coming year. Among them:

  • With the supply of commercial real estate tight, vacancies will drift downward in the office, industrial and retail sectors.
  • Demand for rental housing will stay strong despite increased construction of multifamily buildings.
  • The housing market will continue to improve, even in battered markets like Las Vegas and Southern California.

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