URBEK Market Analysis – Behind the Curtain

What is the difference between an URBEK housing market analysis and any other market analysis or appraisal? The short answer is that the URBEK framework builds on the HUD-FHA Techniques of Housing Market Analysis. For a primary market area, the HUD-FHA Techniques asks “Where are we today?” And, “What will it take bring the market into balance over the next three-years?”

These techniques recognize the dynamic movements in local markets particularly as they relate to changes in total population, households, housing production, and housing vacancy. But typically there is an on-going imbalance among these variables in any local market. Only in the last ten years has it been possible to uncover more aspects of these dynamics thanks to the Census bureau detailed population estimates by age group and the annual American Community Survey results. Importantly, the population by age estimates are also the basis for local employment and unemployment estimates made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly.

The typical market study is focused on a particular housing segment – for example single-family; multifamily rental; or seniors housing of various kinds. A market study as part of an appraisal is of course oriented towards the value of the development. And traditional appraisal-type market studies draw heavily on comparable properties and absorption data. These data sources vary in quality from market to market. The American Community Survey is assembled by one source.

If we consider three broad age categories, over a three-year forecast horizon, a dynamic picture emerges – the under 45 age group consists of renters and first-time home-buyers; the 45 to 65 age group is an established middle-age population sensitive changing employment conditions. These adult-children will relocate great distances to advance or maintain careers. Migration trends for those under age 45 and those aged 45 to 64 often run in different directions. And, the 65 and over group has its own migration dynamic.

Broadly, the demographic trends among these three age categories are in continual change as the result of births, deaths, and net-migration. If these changes can be coupled with information about changes in the housing stock, the result is picture of housing “filtering”, or “market context”.

Each URBEK market analysis calculates a set of dynamic trends. Details for the particular market segment, such as traditional multifamily rental or seniors housing with services, can be elaborated upon within this “market context” – a coherent story of the current market conditions.

The result is a “development window” or opportunity in that local market. Existing properties can be correlated to the development window, and any remaining market identified. And, this result is simultaneously consistent with the overall market setting. In short, using these expanded techniques shines a light on the opportunities and risks in local housing markets.


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