Most of the U.S. is still mired in a real estate slump, in a deep one in some areas and in a little shallower one in others. Las Vegas probably belongs to the deeper customer type, although it's now trying to lift itself off the gutter. Sales numbers here are up and price declines are stabilizing which make for the good news. Inventories do remain too high, though, accounting for the bad news. Anyway, that's the less-than-rosy picture in the summer of 2008.
Let's look ahead to the next decade, from 2010 to 2020, and see what might happen then with the national real estate market. Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies just released its latest review, "State of the Nation's Housing 2008". It optimistically says that housing demand continues at a healthy pace throughout the time period due to a steadily expanding population.
Two important demographic factors that weigh heavily here are the estimated annual immigration at 1.2 million and the gradual rise of life expectancy among baby boomers. These trends have been around for a while now, so no surprise there.
The more notable development is in the social trend sector. Americans are divorcing at an increasing clip and also are tying the knot later, if at all, which then translates that single-person home ownership is becoming the fastest-growing household class. With that in mind, the size of the future home is likely to shrink and it could also mean that they will prefer condos and townhouses over the more work-intensive single-family houses.
The study also points out that during the next decade household growth in U.S. will exceed 1.4 million each year. It makes for a healthy housing demand and is expected to return the real estate market to a solid footing once again.