Friday, July 07, 2006

the coming demand slack in real estate

as a society turns prosperous, people begin to plan their life around the anticipation of longevity. already a person born today can expect to live 80 years. such anticipation of longevity necessarily induces a telescoping of life's milestones. marriage and childbearing decisions are deferred. but the factory setting for a woman's reproductive capacity is to fade by around 45. thus, as economies transition to developed nations, one would expect the population replacement rate to eventually fall below 1.0. we've already seen this in many 1st world countries and a similar fate awaits the US. when that happens, one of the golden rules of real estate "they don't make any more dirt and the population will increase" is broken. imagine the real estate market where more existing homes will rattle empty and entire towns will be rendered ghost towns as the population contracts. not saying that prices will fall as the wealth effect is a separate issue, but many homes built today could become unoccupied shells sometime in the future....probably this century.

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