Camoin's Favorite Finds We made it to year's end and it's time for another edition of our FAVORITE finds. scroll down for a collection of interesting happenings and projects that we geeked out over this year. see you in 2017.

2017 Real Estate Trends

On a daily basis, Camoin Associates analysts are researching the country's real estate landscape and its trajectory for the future. Beyond available housing stock, proposed developments and other physical drivers of the market, equally important factors include a region's sociodemographic composition and economic stability. Realtor.com has come out with their top trends they foresee in the upcoming year and I've highlighted a couple below. I'm giving you fair warning, the dreaded buzz words Millennials and Baby Boomers are included.

  1. Millennials and Baby Boomers will dominate the market - We continue to hear about these cohorts because they are driving economies across the country. We've this heard time and time again, but if communities do to not tailor their messaging and housing options to target these demographics, their futures could be in jeopardy.
  2. Midwestern cities will continue to be a draw for Millennials-These cities are projected to capture a greater proportion of Millennial home purchases in the coming year. Cities like Nashville (pictured in the background) are attracting people for their booming tech hubs, less expensive housing and nightlife.
  3. Western cities will continue to lead in sales and price- Cities like Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA are projected to be two of 2017's hottest markets.

"Just Walk Out" Technology....here's your first look.

Amazon seems to know no bounds. The same company that envisions their packages being delivered via drones is beta testing what they deem "Just Walk Out Technology" in a Seattle grocery store. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk into a grocery store, pick out your items and then just walk out?

Watch the video below to see the future of food shopping according to Amazon.

Rural Towns Can be Innovative Too

While urban centers have been lauded for their knowledge base and ability to attract a skilled workforce, the fact remains that depending on how you define "urban," between 20-30% of the U.S. still lives in small towns and rural areas. Many of our clients would be considered rural populations, and range anywhere from populations of 600 (looking at you Lyons Falls, NY) to small cities like Portland, ME. Due to sparse density and sometimes harsh weather conditions, populations in rural areas have always had to be creative, certainly before it was an urban planning or economic development buzz word.

"Does innovation look different in rural communities than it does in big cities? Yes and no."

How can policy makers and communities harness the creativity and skills of individuals to ensure economic prosperity? To start, building an asset inventory for a community lays the foundation for the resources readily available to a community. Don't get bogged down in the classification of assets and draw on a wide range of activities, physical assets and individual resources. From agricultural production techniques to historical landmarks, these are assets that can be built upon, without having to reinvent the wheel. While there are still many challenges for rural communities when it comes to innovation, like access to a broadband connection, understanding that "rural" can be synonymous with "innovation" is the key to economic development opportunities in many communities.

Catskill, New York - Greene County's Hidden Gem

The Catskill Mill, opened by Etsy founder Rob Kalin.
Speaking of creativity in rural places...

....the New York Times recently profiled the artisan community in the Town of Catskill, NY (population 11,775 based on the 2010 Census). The article attributes the prominence of artistic endeavors in the town to the opening of the massive work space for craftsmen and women known as the Catskill Mill, which was opened by Etsy founder, Rob Kalin. The mill is the feature property of a wider set of plans for Mr. Kalin, who plans to establish a "craft tourism" market in the town, drawing in visitors to experience the many products that are created locally. This major investment has already driven more projects to the town including a dance institute, and brought renewed life back to existing assets like the Castkill Country Store and movie theater built in the 1920's. Reinvigorating these spaces and finding new life for others is a testament to the inspiration that exists in places that may otherwise be considered past their prime.

Adobe Spark Made by Camoin Associates, December 2016

Credits:

Created with images by Bert Kaufmann - "Misty winter afternoon" • cynthia.collins21 - "Nashville" • tpsdave - "vilino belarus landscape"

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