Why Real Estate Downturns Don’t Matter — Dirt is Good

Land of OpportunityFirst of all, let’s not take for granted the properties of good old dirt. As demand for natural resources heats up, water, minerals, timber, agricultural value, and even just plain carbon reducing properties will continue to become more valuable. So will the conflict between the need to extract resources versus the need to conserve undeveloped land holdings. So grab a handful of dirt and repeat after me.. “dirt is good”. Rural Renewal Internet connectivity, urban exodus after September 11th, and the quest for a better quality of life are all giving rural America a shot in the arm. Differing statistics peg the population of telecommuters at in excess of 20% of the workforce. Since “work” no longer has to be a fixed place, many professionals are getting creative with what they want to see when they look out their window. Doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, consultants, business analysts, and corporate executives are trading urban sprawl for rural utopia. However, the “wired” aspects and aesthetic advantages are imperative to the choice for relocation. During the last decade, more Americans relocated to rural areas than left. The most rapid population increase in population growth in rural areas occurred in more scenic counties in the mountains of the western U.S. In “New Villages for a New Era” research points to a movement of people over 65 to the West. There also appears to be a geographic morphing of corporate America with patterns of corporate management remaining in larger metropolitan areas while line operations are disseminating to smaller less expensive geographic areas and rapidly expansion of home officing. Pressure around the Globe There are a number of external economic pressures that still make tangible assets like land and other forms of more unique real estate a good value. With the continued decline of the U.S. dollar, hard assets are becoming, in some cases, preferable to currency. Furthermore, the declining U.S. dollars makes investment in U.S. real estate holdings by foreign investors a boon. In the shorter term, foreign investors armed with Yen, Euros, and Canadian dollars are finding the U.S. market to be a fertile ground for investment. In the longer term, the world population continues to increase at an exploding rate placing substantial demands upon natural resources. So in the end, be patient, the world population is growing, people are on the move, resources are in demand, and with the current exchange rate, real estate in the U.S. is a bargain. Copyright Trends Digest ™ 2012 All rights reserved.

Figuring out How Y’s are Wired – Marketing to Generation Y

Gen YIt’s a good thing that Y’s can multi-task because they’ve got a lot on their shoulders in bearing the brunt of future productivity, taxation, and spinning up the creativity to fuel the world’s economic engine. So, just who are they? Y’s and Millennials, used interchangeably, were born after 1980 and many are now pushing 30. They were practically born into group behavior and the new era of social responsibility and wired lifestyle. So, multi-tasking and social networking have always been part of the package. This is the largest population group, so millennials are the up and coming market for everyone’s product – – if they have the money. Let’s talk about the money later. First of all, getting a handle on this group means understanding technology and how technology is integrated into our lives our psyche and how we use and store information. When we talk about “multi-tasking” this is not just a mechanical function like sending a text, downloading music, and holding a conversation. There are real behavioral patterns in giving the brain data to store, utilize, and retrieve. Case in point: Have you ever been writing an email or a text and looked back to realize you misspelled a word that you know very well? How we use, store, retrieve, collect, ingest, and make decisions about information is constantly being retrofitted by technology. Viral marketing truly is viral as conversations in the virtual world are done on Facebook via iPhone or Droid. No wonder companies are paying for people’s “friends” on Facebook. Collecting friends has never been so profitable. It’s pretty obvious if you’re a facebook junkie. You know what that say about six degrees of separation. The whole marketing thing gets very real when you click on your friends, your friends’ friends, and realize what social networking can really mean. Of course there are social networks for everything now. Everyone’s gossiping and sharing great info online. Some are even living in their “virtual farm houses” planting crops, and having a second job as a farmer. Yes, there is also money to be made in the virtual world if you’ve got the time. Have a great wine or a beer? Your avatar Penelope better be sharing it with others in the “virtual wine room” while it catches a buzz roller coaster on Facebook and Twitter.

While some of these tech waves will come and go, the monumental change in reaching out to Generation Y will be with us for some time as we recognize that how we reach these millennials is very different than past generations. Mobile marketing is going to grow, and the transaction times in between are going to get shorter and shorter. Why mobile marketing? Because the move to more featureful, smart phones is already eating away at the notebook PC market. The mobile smart phone continues to be the device of choice. For marketers, there are number of challenges here. Keeping the attention of a multi-tasker is challenging. Next, you’ve got to hold their attention long enough to make it through the “your credit card has been processed successfully” message.

got to hold their attention long enough to make it through the “your credit card has been processed successfully” message.

Wining and Dining with the Y’s – Refined Tastes on Beer Budgets

Ok. Now for the discussion of Gen Y’s cash problem. We know you don’t want to hear this, but we have a real marketing problem. The Y’s may not have all that much money and probably have even less opportunity than the generations that preceded them. Millennials love technology and studied art, business, and communications. The double whammy may be that this is the generation that is going to get hit the hardest by a sluggish economy and heavier tax burden. As if that’s not enough, this cohort is off the mark in aligning education with economic demand. So the dwindling ranks of doctors, scientists, and engineers will continue to become even more economically devastated. The Y’s are starting to favor smaller but smarter houses, more affordable wines, and sensible cars. Older Y’s might look more like their grandparents than their parents when it comes to spending. While frugality may not be ingrained, it will be an essential byproduct of the circumstances. TD

Copyright Trends Digest 2013 All Rights Reserved

It’s Downtown or the X-urbs

Houston, Texas, skyline.

Downtown or X-urbs?

A Nation on the Move?  And what’s causing this trend? Gen-Xers, and Gen-Yers want to raise their family in quality of life locations, while baby boomers are trying to locate another nest and retire early. While downtown, in cities across America, people are living closer to work, often deciding not to own a car at all.

Suburbia Moves Closer to the City

Downtown areas are being revitalized at record rates as condos, apartments, mini-grocery stores, and car rental companies cater to the city dweller.

Cities to Watch: Houston, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Chicago

So what will downtowners need? Better shopping, more variety in grocery stores, urban, organic landscaping, kid-friendly developments, community-oriented housing, more convenient rental car locations, and healthier food choices. What is driving the back to the city trend? Incentives for fuel and emissions savings, suburban congestion, the commoditization of suburbia, and new opportunities created by the decline in housing and property prices.

Telecommuters Take Commuting to the Next Level

As rural dwellers, we can’t help but be fascinated by the exodus of America’s knowledge workers and professionals to more rural destinations. Pollsters and journalists seem to miss the mark when they try to point their finger at how, for example, states in the West are shifting demographically and politically. Well folks, people are homesteading again – very well, not the kind that happened at the turn of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, but this time it is tech-homesteading. The acceptability of web conferencing, text messaging, and technology that, while reducing physical/personal human contact increases virtual and qualitative human contact, has freed up individuals to telecommute and perform their work functions from “virtually” anywhere.

During the last decade, this was a gradual progression as organizations allowed telecommuting and small businesses and consultants began mo

This is particularly appealing to Generation Xers and Yers who are more focused on quality of life than their parents. A major contributor to this trend has been the massive investment in telecommunications infrastructure, which is essential to the telecommuter. Rural telephone cooperatives, satellite providers, and local phone and cable companies have made broadband both real and affordable. Don’t forget overnight mail. Internet shopping has changed the world. Being able to get the same goods and services delivered to your door in Fessenden, North Dakota is a necessity. What will the next decade hold for these new rural settlers? Be prepared for more changes in local political structures, at least some small town urbanization as commuters, in getting away from the city, seem to bring some of the city with them.

These new settlers tend to be between 25 and 48, well educated, and more socially and environmentally conscious. Over the next decade, what will these urban transplants need? More small business and home office technology tools, better grocery stores and pharmacies, pet care, healthcare, social organizations and networking to keep them from getting bored. Other needs might include better convertible options for home and home office combinations that deliver voice, data, video, for work and entertainment. Additionally, some smart state and local governments might be able to think up a few tax incentives to lure these telecommuters to their areas. Join TrendsDigest in February 2009 to help us select the top new homesteading communities for telecommuters. – TD


Copyright Trends Digest All Rights Reserved

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