PORTLAND - Leading local and national real estate experts met Wednesday morning for Portland State University's 3rd annual real estate conference at the Marriott Hotel downtown.
It's a check-up on how real estate here and across the country is doing.
"Demographics are our destiny," said Mary Ludgin, manager of research for Heitman real estate investments based in Chicago. "Understanding demographic trends helps to buy real estate, develop real estate, invest in real estate in the right locations."
Ludgin noted, while the nation is aging, it's also getting younger.
"We're seeing a significant number of young people being born, immigration is bringing people of all ages to the United States," explained Ludgin.
In the Portland Metro area, 15% of the population is 25 to 34 years old. They are typically renters. That's driving investments in more construction. There are reportedly 6,700 new units in the pipeline here, including in the Pearl District and central Portland.
Ludgin noted, home ownership across the country is now at just over 65%. In Portland, it's a bit higher, at 68%, but it is falling, she said.
"I think we're going to see prices bottom out during the year 2012," she said.
Ludgin has predicted that prices will stabilize by the first quarter of next year, then start to improve. Condo prices will be slower to recover, she said.
"Population growth is the single best predictor of economic growth," she said.