CRE N Illinois

Echo Boomers grab the headlines during Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference

conference-lending-panel1

Those U.S. consumers from the ages of 25 to 34 -- the Echo Boomers -- received more than their share of attention during the Financing and Investing panel of the Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference held Jan. 24 by Illinois Real Estate Journal in downtown Chicago.

Those U.S. consumers from the ages of 25 to 34 -- the Echo Boomers -- received more than their share of attention during the Financing and Investing panel of the Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference held Jan. 24 by Illinois Real Estate Journal in downtown Chicago.

And little wonder: As Cydney White, first vice president of investments for Chicago's Equity Residential, said, these younger adults are actually faring better in today's economy than are most others. The unemployment rate for the Echo Boomers actually stands at a low 4.4 percent. These Echo Boomers, then, have enjoyed the benefits of most of the jobs created in 2011 and early 2012.

Because of this, these consumers are driving many commercial real estate trends today, including the solid performance of the Midwest's multi-family market. The Echo Boomers are in their household formation years. But instead of buying single-family homes, a large number of these consumers are choosing to rent.

"The Echo Boomers are delaying marriage. They are more interested in renting. They want to be more flexible," White said during the panel discussion.

In fact, White said, many of the Echo Boomers are putting off buying their first homes until they hit 30 or beyond.

The message for commercial developers is clear: Multi-family will remain hot well beyond 2012. And when it comes to financing, multi-family projects will be some of the most attractive to commercial lenders.