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PHIL HARDWICK — predictions and outcomes

PHIL HARDWICK

Ten years ago I wrote a column in which I offered 10 things that I believe will shape the future of housing and communities. It’s time for a checkup.

1. (Prediction) Increased use of technology in houses – Energy management, security, mood settings and efficient use of all things mechanical and electrical in our houses has been around for over a decade.  In the future short term, security and entertainment systems will continue to become standard features on new houses, but energy management looks like something that will be driven by high energy prices.  Americans talk a lot about energy efficiency, but energy prices drive action.

(Outcome) Security features such as video doorbells are the hottest thing right now. Home entertainment systems and video streaming are providing more stay-at-home leisure opportunities.

2. (Prediction) Home ownership rate tops out – Nationally, the home ownership rate is approaching 67 percent, and in Mississippi the rate stands at 72.3 percent in 2000.  When one considers the number of people who choose to rent, the number of people who cannot afford to buy a house and the number of older Americans who are in alternative housing, such as nursing homes and living with someone else, it appears that we may be at the saturation point in terms of home ownership.  The real issue will become quality of housing.

(Outcome) Home Ownership Rate in the United States averaged 65.24 percent from 1965 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 69.20 percent in the second quarter of 2004 and a record low of 62.90 percent in the second quarter of 1965. The rate in the first quarter of 2018 is 64.2 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

3. (Prediction) Zoning laws and control of land use receive more attention – Officials are beginning to realize that exclusionary zoning might not be such a good thing after all, especially when it segregates people and prohibits mixed-use development.  Also, many Mississippi counties are grappling with how to deal with comprehensive land use plans.
(Outcome) Headline on www.constructiondive.com – “Building a ‘sense of community’: Why mixed-use developments are sprouting up across the US.” On May 14, 2018 Jackson, Mississippi officials “… unveiled a strategic plan Monday whose broad mandate includes ways to jump start a stagnant economy and turn the tide on a decreasing population and tax base.”

4. (Prediction) Mixed income developments – Instead of developing subdivisions where there is not more than a 10 percent difference in price from the highest to the lowest priced houses, some developers are creating communities where people of various incomes will live among each other.  Such communities are showing wide acceptance in other states, and several are in the planning stages in Mississippi.

(Outcome) See number 3 above.

5. (Prediction) Average home size goes down – How much larger can the average house get? According to the National Association of Homebuilders, last year the average size of a new house was 2,272 square feet, an all-time high. Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom is that as the population grows older boomers will be downsizing.  Look for average size to top out within the next five years.

(Outcome) The median size of a completed single-family house in 2017 was 2,426 square feet, according to Highlights of Annual 2017 Characteristics of New Housing, Census Bureau.

6.(Prediction) Greater innovation in design and construction – Look for more modular construction.  Also, watch for more duplexes and triplexes to look like single-family houses from the outside.

(Outcome) Tiny house trend growing. Shipments of new manufactured homes went from 60,200 in 2013 to 92,900 in 2017, according to August 2018 Manufactured Housing Survey of Census Bureau.

7. (Prediction) Housing will continue to lead downtown revitalization – Take a look at communities nationwide and in Mississippi, especially Columbus, Cleveland and Corinth, and you will find that upper floor housing is making a comeback in downtowns.  That is leading to new restaurants and other retail businesses setting up shop on Main Street.

(Outcome) See Mississippi Main Street website at www.msmainstreet.com.

8. (Prediction) More partnering between organizations to revitalize an area – Community development groups have discovered that it cannot be done alone. Revitalization of neighborhoods is becoming a partnering effort where government agencies, lenders, FNMA, Habitat for Humanity, builders, etc. get together on the front end to plan for revitalization.

(Outcome) See www.revitalizems.org.

9.(Prediction) Return to the city – Traffic congestion is so bad in some areas that upper-middle income homeowners are finding that it’s worth moving back in.

(Outcome) Traffic congestion keeps getting worse.

10. (Prediction) More managed areas – This is a trend that is in the early stages. Neighborhoods are discovering that hiring a manager has benefits.  Already, resort areas, Main Street programs and historic districts are proving that in some cases, it makes sense to hire a management firm to handle everything from appearance, communication, security and political issues.

(Outcome) Insufficient data.

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» Phil Hardwick is a regular Mississippi Business Journal columnist. His e-mail is phil@philhardwick.com.

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