“Why swim upstream, if the current is moving everything in the opposite direction, right?”
Using economic cycles and bubbles, demographic shifts and a way of sizing up quality-of-life communities to live and invest in.
An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.
Peak around the corner.
About the time of my own mid-life crisis I discovered the author Harry Dent.
He introduced me to economic cycles and bubbles, demographic shifts and a way of sizing up quality-of-life communities to live and invest in.
Amy Poehler’s fictitious Pawnee, Indiana didn’t grow on me until season five when neighboring Eagleton, an ultra-affluent town, was written into the script.
In the sixth season the town of Eagleton, involved in a longstanding rivalry with Pawnee, goes into bankruptcy and is absorbed by Pawnee.
An effort spearheaded by Leslie after she sees no other way to save the town.
Having lived in a small Indiana college town on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River for four years and, then in another rural college town for my masters degree, I sought higher quality-of-life choices in a region that wasn’t so topographically flat.
And what if I discover after I move that I don’t like it?
What do I need to know ahead of time?
What if I chose a new Eagleton somewhere else and it files bankruptcy?
That can’t be good – except for Amy Poehler, right?
Nearly anybody can forecast the future.
How do you know which ones will come true?
I set up “The Journal of 2020 Foresight” after researching the top 100 trends and predictions from a variety of technical, economic, social and political sources.
And, knowledge labs to monitor key indicators in 5-year timelines –
2003 to 2008,
2009 to 2014 and
2015 to 2020.
Why swim upstream, if the current is moving everything in the opposite direction, right?
The first knowledge lab, conducted during the 5-year timeline between 2003 to 2008.
“4 – Basic innovation in communication technologies is allowing more people to relocate their homes to small towns and exurbs, and telecommute to business.
3 – The baby boomers are moving into their vacation-home-buying years, which, in combination with the first trend, will stimulate demand for property in attractive resort towns.
2 – The echo baby-boom generation is now moving into its household formation years, which will stimulate demand for apartments and rental property in the cities, and has already caused commercial property in these areas to appreciate,
1 – There is a broad geographic migration towards areas of the country with warmer climates. You can expect the first three trends to be accentuated in the southwestern United States. “
He included a bubble wildcard as a fifth forecast.
The mother-of-all depressions, arriving sometime in the 2009 to 2015 time horizon.
Which presented itself as the mother-of-all Great Recessions.
More on that later.
But, let’s say you decided to investigate opportunities triggered by the warm climate migration?
How do you explore the possibilities?
How do you go about it?
Dent borrowed from innovation, growth, and maturity product lifecycle curves to describe the potential for community growth and real estate appreciation.
You might say he spoke my language coming from my career in high technology.
Innovation – .1%, 1% to 9%.
Growth – 10% breakout to 25% and from 50% to 75% and
Maturity then to 90% – 99% percentiles.
What if the lifecycle model could be applied to resorts – estimating investment appreciation and community growth?
How does that work?
“The time it takes for an idea to move from a .1% idea to a 1% prototype, and finally to a 10% niche in the marketplace (Innovation), is roughly the same amount of time it takes for that niche to accelerate up the curvilinear curve of market acceptance through 50% to 90% (Growth).”
In the innovation stage, the risk is high and the potential reward could be astronomical.
If you found a small pristine mountain community at this stage and moved or invested in a vacation home on a lake, you may see your small down payment and mortgage pay off handsomely decades later.
Buy low, sell high.
As an investor, you’d want to find that goldilocks moment.
You wouldn’t want to invest too soon and wait forever, but definitely not too late when it is way too expensive to buy.
Pick sometime in the early growth stage but before the late growth phase turned into maturity.
When everyone else has heard of the premier destination.
As the mix of community residents begins to shift from High Country Eagles to Wireless Resorters.
You might find Pawnee attractive, but you probably missed the golden opportunity to move to Eagleton.
And by “season six” you’d be glad you did.
In priority order for finding the first three driving trends in one place – broad communications, Baby Boomer vacation-home buyers and echo-boom (Gen-Y, Millennials) entering the rental market, he lists:
Small College and University Towns
Revitalized Factory Towns
Emerging New Cities
What if you’ve already built your mobile knowledge company, “Mobile KnowCo” and weren’t bound by your current fixed location?
How would you know if you found a town to fit your needs?
On your next vacation Harry Dent said to keep your eyes open for:
“A new look that includes intelligent town planning for increased human interaction; and abundant open space;
flexibility in home design;
planning for safety; shared facilities; and high-tech communications infrastructure.”
With those criteria in mind, we initiated coverage of “Resort Towns” in western United States like…
And, continued to aggregate lists of “Best Places” that fit Dent’s other eight categories of towns and cities.
From those thousands, we focused on and curated only those from six western and island regions:
Hawaii and other Tropical Regions;
Southwest Region (Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico);
Pacific Northwest Region (Washington and Oregon);
California Regions; and of course my favorite
Rocky Mountain Region (Colorado, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming).
But guess what?
All vacation destinations aren’t equally attractive and the reasons why aren’t obvious until you dig in and find out for yourself.
So, the only real question becomes, which one is right for you?
Especially if you longed for a fresh start.
Or were forced to take one.
(22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.
If they follow the broad trend lines, they will retire in place.
The community they now call home after their last corporate transfer.
Where their children and grandchildren call home.
Dent recommends checking out the best suburban and exurban communities on the edge of attractive cities in addition to the more compelling resorts and university towns.
If we look at the trends in which cities and geographical areas have attracted the most retirees in the last decade we can get a better clue as to where the growth will continue to accelerate as the pre-retirement and retirement age groups grow in the coming decade.
Psychologists have found that midlife is typically a time when many of us take stock of our values and goals.
He ticks off several reasons.
We attain a certain level of affluence through the combination of high earnings and a sudden drop in necessary family expenses as children leave the nest.
We confront our mortality, either by taking care of ill or elderly parents or by seeing the inevitable aging in ourselves.
For baby boomers and older Gen X-ers each reason can usher in a more positive ending.
Above all, retirement looms on the horizon as an expanse of freedom that many of us, working 8-to-5 jobs, have not known before.
All of these reasons compel us to pause, reflect, and consider how we are going to live the rest of our lives.
California doesn’t have a corner on the market for individuals and businesses seeking pristine natural quality-of-life communities with an open and innovative social environment.
While Dent believed California would grow, other communities in the West were forecasted to grow much faster.
And without paying a high price tag for a similar lifestyle.
Dent suggested these additions to your Western bucket list.
From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, along the coasts into Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, and inland to Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, we see the most innovative cities in America spawning most of the growth companies.
What do they have in common?
These businesses, primarily in the fields of high technology and entertainment, are the backbone of the new information economy.
If you’ve ever lived or traveled in the West, you know there is a clear difference in culture between the western states, the east coast, and the central areas of North America.
(19) Anticipate the growing shifts in life and business. Nobody wants to swim upstream if the current is moving everything in the opposite direction. Clue your fans in.
An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.
For each of the following predictions more current forces may delay and extend the age ranges for the Millennial generation.
But first, what about the Gen X generation?
They “occupy” several life stage demographic profiles.
Recall that the Gen X cohort accounts for roughly 51 million who were born between 1964 and 1980.
By 2015 they range from between age 35 and 50 years old which stretches across
30-44 year old Singles and Midlife
35-54 year old Families
45+ year old Families and Empty Nest Couples.
They have or are just now reaching their“peak spending years,” between the ages 46 and 53. Dent correlates demographic age to real estate segments.
Spending on trade-up homes accelerates from age 35 and reaches a peak by around age 44.
As time marches on they’ll move the Baby Boomers aside as target real estate buyers of resort property …
Sales of vacation property begins to accelerate from age 46 and peaks around age 52 to 55.
The Baby Boom generation conformed except for those members caught by surprise during the Great Recession.
Investment in retirement property begins to accelerate from the late 50s and peaks in the mid-60s.
In 2014 the huge generation numbered 75.4 million.
Born after World War II between 1946 to 1964, their median age 60 years old anchored their range between 51 and 69 years old.
Having moved through all of the other life stage and age segments they now occupy
55+ Baby Boomer Couples,
Empty Nests, and
65+ Couples and Seniors
In addition, Dent describes how broad geographical migration patterns significantly influence long-term real estate trends.
Certain areas of the country clearly and consistently have experienced faster growth than others.
For example in 2002 …
The Northeast and the Upper Midwest Plains states have generally been losing population; the Midwest has seen flat or modest growth; and the Southeast, Southwest and Northwest have all been growing substantially.
Will the majority of retirement age baby boomers move to remote resort locations like Mammoth Lakes, Dillon, Colorado or in recreational areas like Lake Tahoe?
“Psychologists have found that midlife is typically a time when many of us take stock of our values and goals.
Predictable Real Estate and Consumer Trends as Generations Change Aging through Life Stages.
Part One in a 4-part Series evaluating real estate and consumer predictions as generations transition throughout successive life stages.
Fifteen years ago in 2002, as Mammoth Lakes realtor Paul Oster reminded us, Harry Dent built several real estate scenarios on shifting demographics called “Age Demographics, Buying Cycles and Real Estate Appreciation”.
And years earlier management guru Peter Drucker wrote about how dismal most predictions turn out, except for one type.
Those based on fundamental demographics.
If I remember correctly he coined the phrase “Demographic Determinism”.
Dent said as a new generation enters the workforce around age 20, we can expect commercial real estate to boom.
The influx of new workers stimulates demand for office space and manufacturing facilities.
Since these new workers are also consumers, there is increased demand for new stores and shopping malls.
Of course Amazon, losing money quarter after quarter in 2002, had only just begun to exercise its disruptive influence over traditional retailing.
And the older Millennials coming of age in high school may have remembered a time when Amazon didn’t exist, but their younger brothers and sisters act as if they didn’t.
But as a rule of thumb, when it comes to residential housing you can identify five age-specific buying cycles.
Over the life span of a generation, spending on each category accelerates to peak at predictable age intervals.
When an entire generation goes through such predictable property spending patterns, we get a macroeconomic view of the wave-like fluctuations in real estate demand.
As a result, investors can know years and even decades in advance what kinds of properties are going to be hot and when.
For example, someone who is 52, a “youngish Baby Boomer” or “oldish Gen Xer,” and at the peak of his earnings doesn’t typically rent a one-or two-bedroom apartment for himself—though he might rent one for his 24-year old daughter.
Instead, he’s thinking about what kind of vacation home he wants or, if he’s already purchased it, how to transition to retirement in 10 years or so.
But, his daughter, just now transitioning from school-to-work, represents the median age for the Millennial generation.
In 2015 we already know her generation ranges in ages from 18 to 35.
They will be segmented into at least six life stage lifestyles.
20-29 Year Old Singles
20-44 Year Old Families
25-54 Year Old Singles and Families
30-44 Year Old Singles and Couples.
What’s their impact on apartments and retail shops?
The demand for rental apartments and retail space including shopping centers, begins to accelerate from 19 and peaks around age 26.
Here’s where the rules of thumb may need to hitch hike down the road for a few years.
Starter home purchases begins accelerating at around age 26 and reaches a peak around age 33.
Maybe, something else is going on, as we track Millennials through time.