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Housing Summit Series: Dowell Myers

We are pleased to introduce our first Summit speaker, Professor Dowell Myers, Ph.D. a demographer and urban planner from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. Don’t miss his luncheon keynote presentation on Monday, September 15.  He was most recently with us at the November 4, 2013 regional housing forum we hosted in Los Angeles. Check out his presentation here.Dowell Myers

The Housing Summit will attract attendees from all segments of the housing industry. In a sentence or two, please describe what you do.

I’m an academic whose career has combined demography, urban planning, public policy, and real estate. Although most of the last two decades I’ve been focused on immigration, my longtime specialty is housing demography.

When did you become interested in housing, and why?

Living in New York City during my college years I became fascinated with neighborhood diversity and why changes occurred. Then in California I became intrigued with how suburban housing was produced in response to actual or projected population growth. Once I found how deeply the census data linked population and housing my career was launched.

What is the most critical housing issue that we should be paying attention to today?

The greatest challenge we face today is helping the Millennial generation to exercise the historic role of young people in driving the housing market. Their diminished household formation and absence from first-time home buying is what holds back new construction, which normally would trigger the employment growth needed for economic recovery. The key resource in this circular causation is our diverse Millennial generation and we are not cultivating them.

You are giving a keynote presentation about demographic trends and their effect on housing. Can you give us a sneak peak at what you plan to present?

I will be speaking on four key aspects of demographic change that will shape the “new normal” for our future. Aging baby boomers, the Millennial generation, immigration, and diversity are all critical to our success. I will show how these factors are linked to one another and how these demographic forces come together to shape two major turning points for housing and cities. All this becomes more critical than expected because we are still struggling for full recovery after the Great Recession. My new projections for the nation’s falling homeownership rate split into very different scenarios depending on whether policy makers get the demographics right.

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