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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Checking-in on long-term trends with real estate

This morning, there was a thought-provoking story in the New York Times about the state of the U.S. real estate market.  The article suggested that for many people—even those who can afford to buy a home—living in a rental property has become the lifestyle of choice.  Click here to read the story.

Implications:  It would be wrong to assume that home ownership is over; that’s not true, and not by a long shot.  But that having been said, more consumers are opting-in to a rental, according to this Times report.  For some, the idea of home ownership has lost some of its investment-value luster, and for others, a rental allows for greater flexibility (compared to the longer-term commitment of buying).

This story did not leave me thinking about real estate… but of all the categories and companies that might be impacted by these emerging trends.  If you sell home furnishings, for example, how does this affect you?  Should you be offering pieces that are smaller (apartment- or condo-sized, as opposed to Great Room appropriate)?  What if you sell mortgages or home improvements?  Investments or power sports equipment?  (If someone has gone from a three car garage to two underground parking stalls, where are they putting the jet ski or ATV?)

Are your prospects today the same as the people you thought of prospects five years ago?  Do those customers have the same reasons for buying as they did in 2006?

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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