Housing Market Analysis Is More Than Just Demographics

Oct 2, 2017

URBEK is always focused on housing market analysis, which is a subset of urban economics. How can you be sure that your consultant is doing housing market analysis and not just demographic analysis? Does it matter? And, is there a simple question you can ask to be sure he or she is on the right track?

Let’s start with the question “Does it matter?” Today, one of the fastest growing demographic segments is the age 65 to 74 group. Market rate age restricted rental housing is a good example. Nearly every community shows increasing demand for this type of housing. But this segment is really just part of the traditional housing market, sans services. 

The demand for housing equals the net change in the number of households, plus an allowance for net losses to the inventory (or replacement demand). If you are doing housing market analysis, you have to make an estimate for both components. Ask your consultant what his or her estimate is for replacement demand and you will know if you are getting housing market analysis results, or simply demographic results. Replacement demand in some markets is the bigger number! And the best source for income distributions to analyze the age restricted market are available on the HUD website can be found at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/spectabs.html.

Using the HUD data also allows for a more refined estimate of households by age of head. The test for this is simply simulating the URBEK results through the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). URBEK household estimates are inside the ACS margin of error. Separate household size estimates have been made for the age groups under 65, 65 to 74, and the 75 and over. The following table compares some of the results with other demographics sources. Note that the URBEK estimate for householders is significantly lower than the others. This outcome results from the larger household size estimate indicated by the HUD special tabs!

Comparison of URBEK results for Travis County, Texas







1,218,304 1,210,081 1,218,323 1,227,335






Age 75+ HH






Note: The “as of dates” for the above estimates: Claritas 1/1/2017; Esri 7/1/2017; Experian 7/1/2017; and URBEK 7/1/2017.


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