Emerging Trends in Real Estate®:
A Trusted Industry Outlook

Emerging Trends in Real Estate® copublished annually by ULI and Corporate Member PwC in separate editions for the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific regions, is a prime example of member expertise serving as ULI’s content, and of the Institute’s time-honored tradition of members sharing knowledge for the benefit of other real estate professionals and the industry in general.

The highly regarded and anticipated report prepared by ULI’s Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate provides an outlook on real estate investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, property sectors, metropolitan areas, and other real estate issues. The three editions of the 2019 report were based on the insights and opinions of nearly 4,000 ULI members and industry leaders from around the globe, including investors, fund managers, developers, property companies, lenders, brokers, advisers, and consultants. Each was published in fall 2018.

Together, the reports reflected remarkably consistent predictions about real estate and the economy in 2019, including:

– Change is to be expected this late in an economic cycle, but change can be managed;
– Global capital flows are shifting;
– Investors and developers are accommodating rapid advancements in technology as well as other evolving conditions; and
– High property prices in prime markets continue to drive investors to less expensive markets.

The Americas edition, covering the United States and Canada, ranked Dallas/Fort Worth, Brooklyn, Raleigh/Durham, Orlando, and Nashville as the top markets for investment and development in the United States. “Maybe it is time to reevaluate how we think about markets. It may be time to move away from the old stereotypes. In this cycle, we have seen so-called supply-constrained markets overbuild and ‘boom/bust’ markets show great restraint,” noted an interviewee. In Canada, Toronto was ranked highest, edging out Vancouver due to better affordability, among other factors. “The next 12 months will be a buyer’s market, then we’ll start to move back to a seller’s market and prices will ramp up to new highs,” said one interviewee about the city.

The Americas report identified several trends affecting real estate, such as enhanced office and multifamily amenities; new uses for obsolete retail space; the urbanization of suburbs; the increasing impacts of disrupters; growing awareness of environmental, social, and governance practices; last-mile industrial development; and the need for new investment and development to keep up with changing space needs.

The Europe edition ranked Lisbon as the most favorable investment and development market. “It’s not just about investing in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. There can be a whole second tier of cities that win on a number of different measures,” said an interviewee. Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, and Frankfurt also received high rankings.

The Europe report pointed to a trend involving the growing influence of social value alongside the financial returns from investments. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said that they believe the industry is moving toward using a wider range of nonfinancial measures to assess the value of real estate and real estate businesses. One outcome of the trend, the report noted, is an increase in the combination of commercial uses with noncommercial uses such as public space and community centers.

The Asia Pacific edition ranked Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Osaka as the top markets for investment and development. “Moving to value-add is a great strategy—you can stay on the risk spectrum in a city that you already know and do something a little more interesting,” said an interviewee.

In addition to a greater tolerance for risk, the Asia Pacific report highlighted other trends, including the continued popularity of logistics facilities as an investment favorite; and co-living as a template for future housing to accommodate more people in smaller spaces and denser developments.

  • “Despite real estate investor focus on ‘24/7’ gateway cities like New York and San Francisco, there’s stronger growth happening in the next tier of cities,” said Ed Walter, global chief executive for the Urban Land Institute, a Washington-based organization representing urban land use and real estate experts around the world.

    The Washington Post, November 2018
  • “A survey of 885 property investors and professionals by PwC and the Urban Land Institute promoted the Portuguese capital from 11th position last year to first this year in its Emerging Trends report.”

    The Times, May 2019
  • “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2019, published jointly by PwC and ULI, found that Hong Kong’s attractiveness among big investors had dimmed…”

    South China Morning Post, November 2018

Subsequent to the release of the report in each region, a global version of Emerging Trends in Real Estate® was published with highlights from the three editions.

Each year, the launch of Americas edition is a highlight of ULI’s Fall Meeting, and the knowledge shared in each of the editions serves as rich content for district council and national council programs. In fiscal year 2019, more than 60 district council and national council events featured presentations on specific markets with members responding to the findings.

Another popular offering from the Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate is the Real Estate Economic Forecast, a semiannual three-year forecast (occurring each spring and fall) for leading economic and real estate indicators.

Each forecast is based on a survey completed by more than 40 economists and analysts at more than 30 leading real estate organizations, including major real estate investment and advisory and research firms. The forecasts include predictions for 27 economic indicators including real estate capital markets, property investment returns by property type, vacancy rates and rents by property type, and housing starts and prices.

The complimentary member-only webinars hosted by ULI to discuss the forecasts are among the Institute’s most popular online offerings. In fiscal year 2019, nearly 2,000 members tuned in to the webinars to hear report findings discussed by ULI leaders and industry experts such as Adam Ruggerio, head of client relations at MetLife Real Estate; Ken Rosen, chairman of Rosen Consulting Group; Tim Wang, managing director, head of research at Clarion Partners; Stuart Hoffman, senior vice president and economic adviser, PNC Financial Services; and Jeanette Rice, Americas head of multifamily research at CBRE. Real estate sessions featuring the forecasts are also heavily attended at ULI’s Fall and Spring meetings.

Use Knowledge Finder to access the most recent editions of Emerging Trends and the Real Estate Economic Forecast as well as editions from previous years.

Give to the Annual Fund and the ULI Foundation to support capital markets research and related initiatives.

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