Real estate all the rage at ULI annual trends event

Nate Nathan, Larry Webb, Sheryl Palmer, Steven Hilton and Jeff Meyers discuss residential real estate at ULI’s Trend Day.

By Philip Haldiman, Editor-in-Chief | The Dealmaker

Hundreds eagerly anticipated insiders’ thoughts on an important Arizona industry Wednesday, during the 10th Annual Urban Land Institute Trends Day at the Phoenician.

A number of real estate trends were discussed throughout the day, but a handful of industry heavy hitters gave a lively, marquee discussion centered on the real estate market here and across the states.

Jeff Meyers, president of Meyers Research, said in order to get a good understanding of what is to come, you need to put the markets in perspective. Some markets had a 30-60 percent downturn during the Great Recession, he said.

“That is not normal so, why would recovery be normal,” he said. “Yes, 2014 was disappointing, but I feel like now Phoenix is set for the first inning … In 2016 or 2017 Phoenix will start seeing a normalized market. That’s where Phoenix lies, it’s a recovering market.”

Topics ranged from mortgage interest rates to infill construction.

One of the more traveled topics was the active adult living market.

Sheryl Palmer, president and CEO of Taylor Morrison Homes, said there are big opportunities in that market, a sector that is changing because people are living much longer.

“The funeral home model is dying because people are out-living it,” she said. “Do they ever retire?

That’s the 55-plus of the future.”

Del Webb’s senior living communities have long been a staple for retirees in the Valley, but the active adult model is shifting toward a demographic that will continue to work as they grow older.

Earlier this month, the DMB Associates-developed Victory at Verrado, in west Phoenix, opened for buyers 55 and older, moving away from the golf course lifestyle to “diverse neighborhood engagement programs,” according to their website.

The panel recognized that the 55 and older market is moving in this direction.

Larry Webb, CEO of The New Home Company, said it’s difficult to find good land deals in the Sun City area.

“The Sun City model is the model of yesterday,” Webb said.

Looking to the future, the panelists had their own take on the coming years.

Palmer said Arizona has a shortage of land, a constrained supply and a challenging mortgage environment.

“But this year the Boomerang (Buyers) will bring back 7 million people who can buy again – That’s supposed to be about 360,000 in Arizona,” Palmer said.

Webb said he’s bullish about Arizona.

“Since 2012, land prices here have escalated more than anywhere,” he said.

Meyers said in this state, hospitality is strong, the infrastructure is available and the land market is efficient.

“Arizona has a diverse economy,” he said.


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