The Urban Land Institute and Pricewaterhouse Coopers joined forces again this year to interview 750 industry experts and to survey 1,450 additional real estate and economic experts to define trends and top markets within the housing sector for 2020.

Overall, the researchers found that, despite recession fears, industry experts have “palpable” confidence in the housing sector and that it’s in “great shape” due to “good fundamentals.” (Good fundamentals are defined in this report as “no oversupply” and no “over-leverage issues.”)

Real estate and economic experts are calling a “new normal” to the housing sector…one in which homeownership levels have plateaued at a sustainable slowdown.

Major trends defined in this Urban Land Institute – Pricewaterhouse Coopers research publication include:

  1. Money Having No Place to Go
    1. Those interviewed and surveyed for this publication underscored a broad, global feeling of uncertainty along with a sense of surprise that the economy is doing as well as it is.
    2. One interviewee said, “There is a continued shortage of deals with desirable yields; there are more investors chasing deals with than there are good deals available. Essentially, the money situation of this current and short-term market is a paradox of plenty.”
  2. Inequality is now considered a “feature” in the current and 2020 housing markets.
    1. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, there is no county in the US where a 40-hour/week worker earning a minimum wage could afford a two-bedroom apartment.
    2. One interviewee said, “We are building 90% of our housing for 10% of our households.”
  3. Community-Oriented Development is now here to stay.
    1. Younger buyers favor co-living, collaborative consumption and integrated platforms of services, products and experiences.
    2. Sustainability and social interaction are desirable in housing at all levels.
  4. “Hipsturbias” that feature live/work/play formulas and more diversity are and will be increasingly desirable.
  5. A “Silver Tsunami” will push a variety of options in senior housing.
    1. Options include active lifestyle living, upscale urban apartments and huge implications for age-in-place renovations.
    2. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies indicates that the number of people ages 80+ will double from 6M to 12M during the next two decades and that by 2013, 1 in 3 households will be headed by some 65 years and older.
  6. Millennials and Gen Zers are including social betterment goals into their investment decisions.
    1. This publication calls these social goals “ESG” or goals for the  betterment of the Environment, Society and Governance.
  7. Housing experts interviewed and surveyed believe that proptech is on the verge of exploding.
    1. iBuyers, new analytics for property data, new tech tools to digitize the home selling process and new products to simplify the management and operations of multi-family developments will enable digital concierges, package delivery and amenity-laden services.
    2. The rise of 5G, digital assistants and security devices will rise in 2020.
  8. Cities and states are and will increasingly pick up infrastructure projects and costs as the federal government does nothing.


The Top 10 Markets for 2020 according to The Urban Land Institute and Pricewaterhouse Coopers will be…


  1. Austin – unique and popular lifestyle plus a deep talent pool
  2. Raleigh/Durham – high concentration of universities and college as well as the Research Triangle Park; ranked #3 in tech behind Silicon Valley and San Francisco
  3. Nashville – expectations are “ebullient” for investment and development due to the Amazon operations center and the Smile Direct Club expansion.
  4. Charlotte – tech and manufacturing expanding the economy beyond banking
  5. Boston – outstanding educational institutions, 10% of job base grounded in powerful tech industry…there are congestion and affordability issues
  6. Dallas/Ft. Worth
  7. Orlando
  8. Atlanta
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Seattle

Thanks to Patrick Sisson of Curbed and Kathleen Howley of HousingWire for source data.

Also read:,,

Claim Your FREE Real Estate Treasure Map!