Kaid Benfield Archive


Industry survey confirms developers shifting to smart growth

Kaid Benfield

Posted October 6, 2010 at 1:24PM

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In a survey of 1000 builders, developers and other industry professionals operating along the East Coast from Connecticut to Florida, sixty percent reported that, “to stay competitive, they are shifting away from bigger traditional home designs to conservative pedestrian-oriented mixed-use neighborhoods.”   Burbank, CA (by: citta-vita, creative commons license)In other words, smart growth has become the “conservative” investment.  The survey was sponsored by a group of real estate-related companies based in New Jersey, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania and covered a wide range of issues in an effort to determine how current economic conditions are affecting builders.

“The region’s economic future hinges on its ability to redevelop older cities and suburbs,” said the group in a press release.  Moreover, three times as many survey respondents believe that the multifamily residential market has the greatest potential for growth over the next year than believe that single-family development has the most potential (61 percent to 19 percent).  These findings are consistent with a range of market trends and indicators we have been tracking for some time (for example, here, here and here).  

Another question on the survey showed that 63 percent are re-evaluating the types of projects that they plan “from a product/layout/density standpoint,” Geneva, IL (by: Chris Phan, creative commons license)according to the press release.  “Builders have recognized that not every buyer wants a single-family detached home,” said William Becker, a marketing consultant who specializes in active lifestyle communities.  “Buyers like a neighborhood feel but also look for variety in their community, with different style homes.”

The survey polled real estate experts involved in the commercial, single-family, multifamily, and active adult markets in the Tri-State (CT-NY-NJ) and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as Pennsylvania and Florida.  The survey results were announced in late August, though they just came to my attention.

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