Tag Archives: business


The real estate and construction industry is a cornerstone of the global economy, encompassing a wide range of activities, from residential and commercial building to infrastructure development and property management. As of year-end 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor estimated that 8 million Americans were employed in the construction industry, while 1.86 million were employed in the real estate industry. With such a significant impact on employment and the economy, staying abreast of the latest trends in these sectors is crucial for investors, consultants, and marketing professionals. This article delves into the most important trends shaping the real estate and construction industry today.

Construction worker busy working at job site. Framed building. Materials., credit iStock

Construction worker busy working at job site. Framed building. Materials., Credit iStock.

Even more information on this industry is available!  Check out our Real Estate Industry Center!

Plunkett’s Real Estate & Construction Industry eBook latest edition.

1. High Interest Rates Hinder Mortgage Originations and Slow Home Sales

Rising interest rates have been a significant challenge for both residential and commercial real estate markets. As the Federal Reserve increased rates to combat inflation, mortgage rates followed suit, making home purchases less affordable. In 2023, the median price of a newly built home soared to $428,600, up from $336,900 three years earlier. This surge in prices, coupled with higher interest rates, has led to a drop in home sales and a slight decline in home prices in some previously booming markets. For investors, this means a more cautious approach is necessary, with a focus on markets where demand remains strong despite these headwinds.

2. Online Competition Transforms the Mortgage Industry

The advent of online mortgage platforms has revolutionized the industry. Companies like LendingTree, Better.com, and Quicken Loans offer competitive rates and low origination fees, making it easier for consumers to compare options and complete applications online. This increased competition has forced traditional banks to enhance their online offerings, resulting in a more consumer-friendly market. For marketing professionals, this shift underscores the importance of a strong online presence and the ability to offer seamless digital experiences to attract and retain customers.

3. Apartment Rent Hikes Begin to Slow

The rapid rise in apartment rents seen in recent years has begun to decelerate. In 2023, the rental vacancy rate increased to 6.6%, up from 5.8% in 2022. This shift is partly due to the completion of 1.2 million new rental units between 2020 and 2023, which has increased supply. For investors, this trend suggests a need to be more strategic about property acquisitions, focusing on locations with sustained demand and potential for long-term appreciation.

4. Growth of Real Estate Online Services

The use of the internet for real estate transactions has become ubiquitous, with sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Redfin leading the charge. These platforms offer comprehensive tools for homebuyers, from property listings and virtual tours to mortgage calculators and school district information. For consultants, staying updated on the latest technological advancements and integrating them into client strategies can provide a competitive edge.

5. Green Certification and Sustainable Building Practices

Sustainability has become a key focus in both residential and commercial construction. Green building certification programs, such as LEED and the National Association of Home Builders’ green specifications, are gaining popularity. These programs promote energy efficiency, water conservation, and the use of eco-friendly materials. Investors and marketing professionals should highlight the long-term cost savings and environmental benefits of green buildings to attract eco-conscious buyers and tenants.

6. Advances in Building Technologies: Robotics and 3D Printing

Technological innovations are transforming the construction industry. Robotics and 3D printing are being increasingly used to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. For example, the startup ICON uses proprietary 3D printing technology to construct homes quickly and cost-effectively. These advancements not only improve productivity but also address the labor shortages that have plagued the industry. For investors, these technologies present opportunities to invest in forward-thinking companies and projects.

7. The Influence of Baby Boomers and Universal Design for Aging in Place

The aging Baby Boomer generation is significantly impacting the housing market. As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, there is a growing demand for homes that support aging in place. Universal design principles, which make homes accessible and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities, are becoming more popular. For marketing professionals, promoting these features can attract a large segment of the market that values long-term livability and safety.

8. Challenges in China’s Real Estate Market

China’s real estate market has faced significant challenges in recent years. A construction boom led to oversupply in some areas, while major cities like Beijing and Shanghai saw property prices soar. The market experienced a downturn in 2023-2024, with many developers running out of cash and projects remaining unfinished. Investors with interests in China need to carefully assess the market conditions and consider the risks associated with over-leveraged developers.

9. The Rise of Mixed-Use Developments

Mixed-use developments, which combine residential, commercial, and entertainment spaces, are becoming increasingly popular. These developments offer the convenience of living, working, and playing in one location, which is particularly attractive in urban areas. Projects like the Time Warner Center in New York City exemplify the potential of mixed-use developments to enhance property values and attract diverse tenants. For consultants, advising clients on the benefits of mixed-use projects can lead to successful and sustainable developments.

10. Challenges and Opportunities in Mall and Shopping Center Occupancy

The retail sector has been hit hard by the rise of e-commerce, leading to declining foot traffic and store closures. However, successful mall operators are adapting by integrating entertainment venues, dining options, and experiential retail into their spaces. For investors, focusing on high-end malls and shopping centers that have embraced these changes can yield better returns. Marketing professionals should highlight these unique features to draw shoppers and tenants.

11. Remodeling Market Trends

The remodeling market has experienced fluctuations, with a recent slowdown expected to continue. Factors such as rising construction costs, labor shortages, and economic uncertainty have contributed to this trend. However, there remains strong demand for energy-efficient upgrades and renovations that cater to multigenerational living. For consultants, identifying high demand remodeling projects and advising clients accordingly can lead to successful outcomes.

12. Shared Spaces for Co-Living and Co-Working

The concepts of co-living and co-working have faced challenges, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there remains potential for growth in these areas as flexible living and working arrangements become more popular. Companies like WeWork and Common are adapting their models to meet changing demands. For investors, these shared spaces offer opportunities to tap into evolving lifestyle trends.

13. The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Smart Home

Smart home technology continues to grow, with devices like Nest thermostats and Ring doorbells becoming commonplace. These technologies offer improved energy efficiency, security, and convenience. For marketing professionals, emphasizing the benefits of smart home features can attract tech-savvy buyers and enhance property value.

14. The Future of Housing and Cities

Urbanization and population growth are driving the need for innovative housing solutions and infrastructure development. Mega-regions, defined as large metropolitan areas with significant economic and population growth, will play a crucial role in shaping the future. Sustainable building practices, advanced construction technologies, and smart city initiatives will be essential to meet the demands of growing urban populations. For investors and consultants, staying ahead of these trends and identifying opportunities in emerging mega-regions can lead to substantial rewards.

For investors, consultants and marketing professionals!

The real estate and construction industry is undergoing significant transformations driven by economic, technological, and demographic shifts. High interest rates, online competition, and sustainability are reshaping the market, while advances in building technologies and the influence of Baby Boomers are creating new opportunities and challenges. By staying informed about these trends and adapting strategies accordingly, investors, consultants, and marketing professionals can navigate the complexities of the industry and achieve long-term success.

Key Concepts: real estate, housing, construction, development, green buildings, sustainability, communities, mortgages, architecture, business, investing, finance, economics, globalization, marketing, aging in place.

Source:  Plunkett Research, Ltd., Copyright © 2024