Market Trends September 2017
Americans Expect to Retire Later
Americans now expect to retire at an average age of 66, compared with a goal of retirement before 65 a decade ago, according to a Gallup poll. The Social Security full retirement age is 66 for baby boomers born between 1943 and 1954. A survey from the Economic Policy Institute based on 2013 data finds a wide gap between the amounts Americans of different income levels have saved for retirement, with the wealthiest 1% holding $1.08 million or more, compared with just $5,000 for the median working-age family. In 2013, nearly nine in 10 families in the top 20% by income had retirement account savings, compared with fewer than one in 10 families in the bottom 20%, according to the EPI.
Smart Cities harness technology
Smart city initiatives are popping up around the world as cities attempt to harness technology to improve the lives of their citizens and streamline city management. Robert Bosch, Facebook, Google, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft are just a few of the tech giants that are in on the smart city trend and battling for a slice of the $15 billion that's projected to be spent on software by 2021, according to Juniper Research. Cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT technologies are all part of the broader discussion for providing access to the data that cities are managing, such as crime reports, air quality, traffic, utilities, lights, meters and more. Some companies, including GE, have formed divisions focused specifically on smart city programs. Having digital work hubs and other tools that facilitate communication and data sharing will be key to getting smart cities off the ground and actually functioning.
Tracking Construction Progress
Indoor Reality's 3D web-viewer mapping solution now has a Time Travel mode that allows users to see changes and progress in interior construction over time. Multiple data sets are gathered over time, making it an easier process than the traditional method, which requires managers to photograph the exact same space from the exact same angle over the life of the project. Multiple data sets can easily be aligned to show changes over time. Thus far the capability has proved useful in establishing payments for subcontractors and in documenting insurance claims as well as demonstrating that all outlined steps of the project have been completed as planned.
Construction management college major growing more popular
Majoring in construction management has become more popular among college students, according to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes education data. Enrollment in construction trades at four-year institutions increased 26.4% between spring 2016 and spring 2017, the largest percentage increase for any discipline. Construction trades, as defined by the National Center for Education Statistics, include a range of subjects, such as carpentry and management. Many four-year schools offer a bachelor's degree in the latter, and industry experts encourage current and prospective students to consider construction management if they like building things but don't want to get their hands dirty. Industry experts describe construction management as a combination of various disciplines, including architecture, business and engineering. Graduates with this degree are prepared to manage people and each part of the construction process, experts say. Students are attracted by the wide range of skills needed, and the variety of the work. In addition, it attracts people who like to see physical results of their work and like to work with teams. There were just 7,659 undergrads enrolled in a construction trade major in spring 2016, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The number of students seeking a bachelor's degree in this field jumped to almost 10,000 by the following spring. While these numbers don't compare with fields that attract undergraduates by the millions, such as business, with more than 1.5 million students enrolled in spring 2017, colleges and universities are increasing their commitment to teaching about construction. There were 60 baccalaureate degree programs for construction management that were accredited by the ACCE in 2006; by the 2015-2016 school year, there were 73 accredited programs.
Millennials Don’t Mind Sharing Data
Millennials are more comfortable with data sharing than older generations, according to a June 2017 Bank of America study of US smartphone users. For instance, 45% of millennials were OK with their phones tracking their spending habits, compared with just 26% of all respondents. In addition, 44% of millennials were comfortable with devices tracking their location, compared to 37% of all respondents. In February, Retail Dive and Google conducted a survey that found that millennials ages 25 to 34 were three times more likely than respondents 65 and older to share personal information with their favorite retailer. For those who grew up using smartphones, sharing data may feel perfectly normal. They also expect benefits, including convenience and bargains. Many millennials do not seem to be concerned about the privacy issues that worry their elders, as they think of their smartphones as extensions of themselves and their connection to their social world.
What 55+ Home Buyers Want
More than half (58%) of readers surveyed by Where to Retire chose 55+ master planned communities (MPCs) as the type of retirement living they found most attractive. Traditional neighborhoods were the choice of 47%, 35% preferred condos or apartments and 33% selected MPCs that were not age restricted. The top factors for these readers were a low crime rate and having a hospital nearby. Builders are catering to MPCs at all price points, with the annual 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the U.S. rankings including homes priced from $80,000 to $3 million. Of those listed, 38 communities had homes priced at less than $300,000, with 14 of those priced below $200,000. There is an overall preference for single-family detached homes that offer all one level living, with an extra bedroom for guests. Other widely desired features for all age groups include energy efficient homes on culs-de sac and near walking trails, parks and retail. The 55+ buyer is also looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle. The number of 55+ households is growing and is expected to continue to grow through 2024, both in absolute numbers and as a share of the population. Baby boomers compose the largest segment of that population, at almost 75 million people.
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