November 22, 2013 by Craig Pontey
Just what do Halloween, dentists and puppy day care and for that matter lets add a few more items to this varied list: such as pop-up retail outlets, vegetable gardens on nature strips, foot and relaxation massage and the local deli trading late? And just what is the connection to your local neighbourhood real estate market?
Before we go into a little detail to answer this question and consider how for instance local house prices might be impacted, what all of these points demonstrate is the complexity of demographics. It struck me recently in fact it was during Halloween, how very diverse and dynamic most areas in the east were becoming, and the trends are by no means limited to the eastern suburbs, my shopping list of trends and others will be found in almost any urban setting.
During the last Halloween, which is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31, I was in a popular inner-east suburb, and around 6pm I was surprised to see the streets full of kids and mums and dads all involved in trick or treat, and this event really did show how this once somewhat neglected working class suburb was now full of young and affluent families. And while the tradition of Halloween is something that Irish and Scottish immigrants carried to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries have now embraced the idea and that includes Australia and New Zealand.
The big picture point I want to make here is that Halloween which, has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival, has now spread into many older established areas because of a massive shift in demographics. It just happens that unlike some demographic changes, that are a little less visible, streets full of screaming and happy kids in once silent and run down streets clearly show a big shift in demand. Now we have affluent families coming into areas, renovating homes and clearly impacting prices, and Halloween is just one example, even it’s fun to watch.
Demand, Supply & Demographics
Shifts in the shape of urban demographics are possibly the most powerful influence on markets, on house prices. Because while the supply and demand of homes on the market is always talked about, sometimes as we see in the current market endlessly talked about, we need to take a much closer interest in demographics, and as I have tried to demonstrate this is not a dry subject, but one that is full of interest. Demographics drive demand, people’s choice of where they want to live reflects the many changes that are taking place around us, age profiles change and this impacts supply and prices being paid.
Lets just take a quick look at some of the other trends we now see all around us, and how these in turn reflect demographic shifts. The appearance of vegetable gardens on nature strips is a great example of community involvement, and it’s a key driver of demand, because people seek out community, its been an influence on the east for many years.
Pop up retail shops and a late trading deli, point to a younger and possibly more professional workforce in an area, with less time to shop and shifts in retail demand that traditional traders may no longer satisfy.
The puppy day care, again shows a busy lifestyle and possibly more singles in an area or families where everyone works and so there is less time to look after the four-legged family member, the trend also points to locals who have the money to pay for such services.
Now my final two examples, of dentists and foot massages highlight a possible shift in age profiles, kids getting older and look for shinny white teeth, or many more older clients keen to look after their health. Now our foot massage, well with our busy life, this is a service we all deserve.
So when you next think about values in your area, why not look at the bigger demographic picture, the trends you see will I suggest be the most powerful forces driving values.
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