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Recent Posts


Correcting Demographic Misperceptions

by John Burns
September 2017

 Our survey of almost 1,000 people showed eight significant demographic misperceptions. Read our book Big Shifts Ahead if you want the facts.


Understanding the Single-Family Renter

by Chris Porter and Mikaela Sharp
September 2017

Single-family home renters earn more money, have more kids, and are more likely to be married than multifamily renters.


Falling Homeownership

by John Burns
August 2017

Today’s 63.7% US homeownership rate* (down from 69.1% 12 years ago) is propped up by a very high homeownership rate for those aged 65+ who bought their homes many years ago. They benefited from a strong economy, more affordable housing during their working years (even adjusting for mortgage rates and inflation), and 100% down payment programs for veterans.


Older Millennials Leaving the City

by Annie Radecki
July 2017

The same people who drove urban demand from 2005–2015 are about to drive demand for surban housing in inner-ring suburbs, especially those in mature and slower-growing cities. America’s population for 20-somethings grew by 4.7 million people from 2005–2015 and is projected to decline slightly from 2015–2025.


Student Debt's Drag on Homeownership

by John Burns
April 2017

For eight years in a row now, homeownership has fallen in the first quarter, and we expect another small decline to be announced. In our book Big Shifts Ahead, we forecast homeownership of 60.8% by 2025. Demographics are the most certain drag on homeownership. 10.6 million current homeowners whose generations achieved an 80% homeownership rate should pass away or move into an assisted living facility over the next ten years.

Shifting Family Structure Hurting Homeownership

by John Burns
March 2017

When researching our new book Big Shifts Ahead, we learned that 40% of all kids are born to an unmarried mom, and 32% of all kids live with only one parent.  Single-parenting has been on the rise for decades.  The expenses of raising children alone make it very difficult to become a homeowner.

A Career Woman's Perspective on Home Buying

by Kristine Smale
February 2017

It is no secret that women’s role in the workplace has been steadily rising since the 1950s. In fact, the percentage of women in the workforce has doubled since the 1950s, while the percentage of men in the workforce has fallen 11%.


E-Commuting Creating Demand for Better In-Home Office Space

by Adam Artunian
November 2016

39% of new home shoppers work at home at least one day per week. Almost 25% of shoppers born in the 1960s and 1970s work at home at least three days per week. This shift in work and home life has created a huge opportunity for home builders, since most resale homes were not designed with this demand in mind.


The Surban Appeal to a Single, Working Mom

by Danielle Leach
November 2016

As a single, working mom, my two teenage boys often hear me say, “Time is money.” I need to be mindful of my housing budget while managing my crazy busy life with limited time.


Is My Uber Driver Holding Back the Housing Market?

by John Burns and Mikaela Sharp
October 2016

Why are so many young adults today willing to make perhaps the biggest commitment of all—having a child together—before getting married? Does this recent societal shift tell us anything about young adults’ willingness to commit to a 30-year mortgage? I recently had a conversation with an Uber driver who shed light on the younger generation’s choices.

The Foreclosure Generation: From 4% above Norm to 7% below Norm Homeownership

by John Burns
September 2016

Those born in the 1970s have fallen from having a 4% higher than normal homeownership rate today. The housing crisis hit the 1970s Balancers harder than any other generation. We call those born in the 1970s Balancers because they best represent the clear shift in the US toward more work/personal balance. We could have called them the Foreclosure Generation.

Declining Rural Life, Despite Technology Improvements

by John Burns
September 2016

Only half as many households as normal choose to live in rural areas these days. Using our definitions, only 8% of household growth occured in rural areas over the last five years, compared to the usual 17% of growth over the prior 30 years. Over the last five years, urban captured 21% of growth compared to the 30-year norm of 8%

Labor Shortage Ahead

by Chris Porter
July 2016

A surge in retirees (people turning 65) will slow the growth of workers in the US. In 2000, 2 million people turned 65; 3.5 million did in 2016; and 4.0 million will in 2021. Even with a higher than usual rate of retiree-aged people working, US economic growth will almost certainly remain slow.

College Educations Cause Income Inequality!

by Chris Porter
June 2016

Rising college graduation rates, particularly for women, have significantly contributed to a greater share of high-income households. Among married couples, 23% now both graduated from college—a percentage that has steadily risen for decades.

Homeownership No Longer Has Tax Savings

by John Burns
April 2016

We believe we have found one of the primary reasons why entry-level home buying has not recovered—and why homeownership has been plunging.

Women and the Future of Housing Decisions

by John Burns
October 2015

I am going to bet that the makeup of real estate industry leadership will become increasingly female over the next few decades, not because of affirmative action efforts, but purely because women are getting ahead.

Immigration Changes Mean Surge in Construction Costs

by John Burns
September 2015

With so much discussion today about the lack of construction labor, despite low levels of construction, and rising construction costs, I want to share some research from our Chief Demographer Chris Porter who projects household formations for us. Chris notes that there has been a 67% decline in immigration from Mexico, and there are 570,000 fewer Mexico-born construction workers than in 2007.

Some Facts Regarding Today's Changing Home Buyer

by John Burns
September 2015

Let me summarize for you some of the key findings from an NAR report on home buyer and seller generational trends. So often, useful facts get lost in big reports.

Success Means Hiring (and Retaining) Workers Who Are Passionate, Likeable, and Smart

by John Burns
September 2015

We hire and retain "PALS": the most Passionate, Articulate, Likable and Smart people we can find. We also help under-performers find employment elsewhere.

Betting on Chinese Investment in the US

by John Burns
August 2015

Chinese home buyers comprise roughly 2% of US housing demand—and far more than that in the gateway metro areas with excellent airport access.

A New Opportunity to Build Detached Homes for Rent

by John Burns
August 2015

Builders and developers will now start building more detached homes for rent. For years, home builders have ignored 10% of housing demand, allowing resale homes to fill the demand. As shown below, 12.7 million of today's 120 million households rent a detached home.

Gearing Up for a 15-Year Boom. Who's Ready?

by John Burn
June 2015

If you want an industry with a great long-term outlook, consider construction. I have run the math. Even with the most conservative of assumptions, household formations will boom over the next 15 years, and we will need well in excess of 1.5 million homes built per year to meet the demand. That is 50 percent more than we built last year. All of my builder clients tell me there is a huge shortage of talent—both blue collar and white collar.

4 Shifts Needed to Sell More Homes

by John Burns
February 2015

As noted during our consulting team's visits to thousands of communities all over the country last year, and also shown by the slower 2014 sales in our master-planned communities survey, the land development and home building industries need to shift their mix of communities to target a different mix of buyers than the traditional mix. New home community segmentation needs to change in four ways.

Big Idea 2015: Rethink Your Business Due to Retirement Surge

by John Burn
December 2014

More people were born in the 1950s (41 million) than in any other decade, and they are dropping out of the workforce in droves. Those born in the 1950s will begin turning 65 in 2015. In fact, in the last 10 years, we have transitioned from roughly 2.5 million US residents per year turning 65 to 3.5 million per year, and that number will trend up to almost 4.5 million by 2025 before it starts trending down again.