ULI Atlanta's Emerging Trends Conference Addresses Quality of Life, Transportation, Water and Housin

Emerging Trends Conference held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 11, 2008

[USPRwire, Fri Nov 28 2008] ULI Atlanta’s annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2009 conference provided an outlook on investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, property sectors, metropolitan areas and other real estate issues. According to the report, Atlanta ranks 33rd for commercial and multifamily development and home building and 24th for commercial and multifamily investing among 50 metropolitan areas.

“Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2009: Best Bets and What to Avoid,” undertaken jointly by ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers, was presented Tuesday by author by Jonathan Miller to a group of over 350 local real estate leaders.

The report describes the suburban expansion that has led to a relatively empty downtown and increased traffic congestion in Atlanta. Rescuing downtown and re-creating an urban center extending to Midtown and Buckhead is now a priority for Atlanta developers, as evidenced by recent intown high-rise residential development. According to the report, Atlanta is headed in the direction of a more viable urban landscape with 24-hour neighborhoods and amenities to accommodate expected population growth.

"This year's report acknowledges the fact that Atlanta is starting to grow like a sustainable city,” said ULI Atlanta Executive Director Jeff DuFresne. “Increasingly, empty nesters and career-building singles look to escape commuting hassles by settling in infill locations. There is a movement toward creating walkable communities, higher density mixed-use projects around transit, and 24-hour neighborhods."

The report acknowledges that Atlanta's office, industrial, condominium, single family and apartment markets are currently overbuilt and lacks the high-tech engines sustaining other markets.

“The cyclical real estate markets always comes back, and they will this time too, but not anytime soon,” said Tim Conlon, partner and U.S. real estate sector leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report acknowledges that commercial markets will recover more quickly than most housing markets, and homebuilders may have to sell land tracts for “cents on the dollar” or face foreclosure on their holdings, adding to the already high rate of mortgage defaults and foreclosures.

One silver lining: Interviewees agreed that eventually, savvy investors will be able to cash in on the inevitable recovery, which some see occurring as early as 2010.

Emerging Trends says the housing market condition shows no signs of quickly recovering. For lenders, the “subprime mess is the tip of the iceberg.” Stricter lending standards and the weak economy will continue to drain the homebuyer market. “Forget the quick fix,” says the report.

As a district council of the Urban Land Institute, ULI Atlanta advances responsible land use policy and real estate development practice throughout greater Atlanta. The nonprofit group is supported by its members. They examine land use issues, impartially report their findings and convene forums to find solutions to complex land use problems. For more information on ULI Atlanta, call 770-951-8500 or visit www.ULIatlanta.org.

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