A crowd of Maine’s real estate professionals gathered recently to listen to a renowned national speaker present consumer insights for residential development opportunities by generation. The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA)’s premier breakfast event “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation” was led by Mollie Carmichael of John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Newport Beach, CA and included data relevant to the New England region.
Residential development opportunities in Maine and across the nation have evolved in interesting ways. Those who believe “one size fits all” will suffer in the overall viability and profitability of their development efforts. Urban in-fill condos in Portland, millennial targeted apartment lofts in renovated buildings in Biddeford/Saco, suburban age-restricted townhouse communities in Falmouth, and family focused single family residential subdivisions in Scarborough all have unique targeted markets. If those markets are understood well and the floor plans and community amenities are thoughtfully created to be “just right”, the chances of project and financial success increase markedly.
Carmichael’s firm pulls annual consumer and product research from over 50,000 consumers and break down the findings for each generation to help find the sweet spots of residential development opportunity and perils that are there, too. Whether it is multigenerational housing, A2B2 (Active Adult, Baby Boom) housing, workforce housing, millennial housing, family housing, single housing, apartments, single family detached housing, or some combination of all of these, there are lessons that the research provides to help tilt the odds of success in our favor.
Carmichael shared an abbreviated version of her in-depth presentation with the group at the April 9 breakfast. Highlights include her “top 10” list of community preferences by generation, with a special focus throughout the presentation on the two fastest growing residential consumer segments: Baby Boomers and Gen Y or “Millennials”. In New England, the largest group for residential opportunity is the mature couples looking to downsize and transition into an empty nest or retirement. However, multi-generational housing is becoming increasingly common as we live longer than ever before. Many will consider accommodating an 18+ year-old child or an elderly parent into their next home purchase. So while the Boomer is the largest segment looking for a new home, 55% of these consumers cannot find what they are looking for. This is a huge opportunity for MEREDA members to continue to help the industry understand what they want and provide solutions to drive further growth.
Gen Y is getting married later, and as lifestyle is a catalyst for home ownership, they are waiting longer to purchase their first home. Today’s younger home shoppers have more pets than children, and treat them as such. Access to dog parks and other amenities for pets is a growing trend sought by the next generation of residential consumers. To learn more about real estate and development in Maine, register for MEREDA’s breakfast events. Topics and an upcoming schedule can be found online at mereda.org.
About Mollie Carmichael:
Mollie Carmichael is Principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Newport Beach, CA. For over 25+ years, Mollie has helped companies increase profits dramatically by understanding the market and consumer first. She is passionate about guiding strategic planning decisions with consumer and market-based methodologies in order to optimize financial results. Mollie has led research efforts throughout the country on master planned communities and individual neighborhood design. She comes to Portland frequently to visit relatives who live here and is excited to present her research findings to those in the Maine Real Estate Community.