The Latte Factor predicts a Strong SF Real Estate Future

Via the folks at agentgenius, I ran across an article published at The New Urban Network about some predicted major changes in real estate trends and demographics. In short, the data can be summarized as single-family suburban bad, transit-friendly urban good.


The article is based on the work and research of Arthur C. Nelson, who describes the predicted clash of demographic trends and housing supply the “The Decade Of Calamity.” Which sounds rather ominous, particularly if you happen to be in an area – like the suburbs – that he predicts will be on the losing end of upcoming demographic shifts. He predicts that an increase in family size, coupled with an increasing preference for transit-rich multifamily dwellings, combined with changes to mortgage underwriting standards spells dramatic shifts for the housing market.

When Britton and I meet with buyer clients, we call this the “latte factor” – the ability to walk out your door and be within a short distance of your favorite latte spot. It obviously holds true for things other than coffee, like grocery stores, parks, schools, and public transit.

We’ve also seen first-hand his prediction of people in their 60’s selling their single family suburban homes to move into a condominium in the city. Their reasons are varied, but they all tend to like the fact that they are within a car-free distance of cultural institutions, parks, playgrounds, shops and stores. They also usually love that maintenance is the HOA’s responsibility and that all they need to do is write a monthly check for HOA dues.

San Francisco is often mocked for our tree-hugging-cars-are-bad laws and regulations, but if the coming changes play out as predicted, we will be looking like a city that isn’t too crazy, just ahead of our time. Which is a reputation we also wear proudly.


  1. Gloria Easler says

    I’ve always heard trends begin in the west, aka, California. I think this will be true for a lot of reasons, baby boomers, economic considerations for sure. Also why live,play, work communities have been encouraged in our area here in Georgia.

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