Ten Year Forecasts

The Futurist 10 Year Forecast.

The Futurist magazine publishes an annual compendium of forecasts for the next ten years. Parker Associates has taken the liberty of excerpting those likely to affect the real estate industry in the coming years. They are as follows:

  • Populations and wealth will decline. By 2020, half of the human race will live in countries where the birth rates have fallen below the death rates.
  • GDPs will fall markedly throughout the world—a negative impact on housing demand.
  • Despite the reckless pursuit of profit that has led to economic disaster, a new economy is emerging based on sustainable job creation, fair distribution of wealth, and private ownership that serves the common good, stimulated by cooperatives, non-profit public partnerships and local businesses that invest in the well-being of their employees and communities, leading to new innovations in types of housing.
  • Women will have greater social and economic impact in 2020, despite unequal distribution of this impact around the world. As they experience increased financial independence, many women will delay or even forgo marriage, which will decrease demand for family housing and spur multi-family housing.
  • Incomes in the United States have tripled over the last three generations and standards of living are rising in poor countries around the world, a trend that will generate improved housing conditions worldwide.
  • Quantum computers are leading toward real artificial intelligence. Within fifteen years, experts in this field project machines that can make conscious choices among multiple choices equal or better than human minds.
  • Robots are projected to replace retiring baby boomers in the manufacturing work force, not as independent workers, but rather as trained assistants employed side-by-side with humans skilled in technology—co-workers rather than replacements.
  • Robots also will become rescue workers for perilous situations too dangerous for human rescuers—currently being developed by the federal government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
  • Students will turn away from traditional forms of education, due to rapidly rising university fees and the growing popularity of on-line college courses—will adversely affect student housing industry and university expansion (although many mainline schools are joining the on-line offerings).
  • Buying and owning things will go out of style as increasing rent and lease options enter the market for housing, cars, music, books, and more. Saving money and living more economically are motivators for rent consumers.
  • Green, intelligent vehicles will proliferate in the 2020s as electric and hybrid vehicles without drivers (already passed safety tests) become more competitive with combustible engine vehicles and go into full production and popularity.
  • Plastics will go organic as increasing numbers of companies are replacing plastics in production lines with bio-plastics based on organic ingredients instead of oil—will increase as volume drives organic prices down (see David Parker’s new book, Florida Land Grab, for potential new housing applications). 
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