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Friday, June 22, 2012

Getting To Know Chuck Graham

Charles 'Chuck' G. Graham
LEED Green Associate,AIA, Fellow MIM
Defining Chuck: Grew up in Daytona,
drew houses constantly,
Notre Dame, drafting talents,
worked summers for  largest
architectural firm in the world, restoring Frank Lloyd Wrights's Robie House,
business degree
Harvard, research for consulting,
                    residential building,
Chief Marketing Officer
When Chuck Graham takes the stage at a real estate conference, there is standing room only. Each year his research is impeccable as he explains where we have been and where we are heading as a real estate market. In 2007 his prognosis of what was coming was bleak. I heard him clearly and began to save for the drop to come.

Now as I begin my own recovery and start writing about the future of real estate, what we might expect especially for attached housing, condos, I wanted to talk to Chuck first.
He spoke of investment in real estate, the building of buildings. The old addage,"It takes money to make money" still applies.

Then he spoke of the people. He continued on about the generations, defining them with the market and what each brings.I asked if he would visit our venues and bring his perspective to both Blog and Podcast.
Be sure to catch his podcast: Chuck Graham with The Real Estate Lady

Here is Chuck's Demographic Overview


There are four key generations currently active in the U.S. Economy.

Millennials (Gen Y): Born Between 1982 and 2003
Today they are between 9 and 30 years of age.
William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations describe this as a “Civic” generation which grows up with protective parents, faces a secular crisis (The Great Recession) and unites into an heroic and achieving cadre of rising adults.
Historically speaking more 26 year olds rent their first apartment than any other age group.

Thirteeners (Gen X): Born 1961 – 1981
Today they are between 31 and 51 years of age.
Strauss and Howe describe this as a “Reactive” generation, which grew up unprotected and criticized during a spiritual awakening (Boomer Awakening) and matures into risk-taking alienated adults.
Historically more 33 year olds buy their first house than any other age group.
Historically more 43 year olds move-up in their housing.

Boomers: Born 1943 – 1960
Today they are between 52 and 69 years of age.
Strauss and Howe describe this as an “idealist” generation, growing up as indulged youth after a secular crisis (Cold War), comes of age inspiring a spiritual awakening (Boomer Awakening)), and fragments into narcissistic rising adults (Economic Expansion) and cultivates principle as moralistic midlifers.
Historically speaking more 52 year olds buy vacation homes.

Silents: Born 1925 – 1942
Today they are between 70 and 87 years of age.
Strauss and Howe describe this as an “Adaptive” generation, growing up overprotected during a secular crisis (depression), maturing into risk-averse, conforming adults (Superpower America), producing indecisive midlifers during a spiritual awakening (Boomer Awakening), and maintaining influence (but less respect) as sensitive elders.
Historically speaking more 70 year olds buy retirement homes.
Historically speaking more 80 year olds consider assisted living housing alternatives.

Unfortunately, due to the Great Recession all of these historical “life-stage” decisions are now delayed and presenting challenges to economic growth which will not be easily mitigated without jobs, and debt reduction.


Each generation is delaying their life-stage movement.


Millennials have remained at home or have doubled, tripled or even quadruplied up in apartments.
Very few jobs and very high educational debt has caused these reactions.
The apartment building boom will be the next “bubble” particularly the focus on the luxury side of the market when what continues to be needed are affordable and mid-market product.
Although the Millennials have not reached the peak of first home buying they are delaying this decision as well. This delay is accommodated further with delayed marriages and delayed parenthood.
The “Civic” nature of this generation will embrace “Green” building and move the market substantially forward in this area.


As noted with the Millennials, Thirteeners are delaying first home buying decisions, marriage and parenthood. There will be a noticeable change of mix between high density, smaller urban and lower density smaller suburban solutions to this product. As the generation faces economic reality.
They are employed but with few income increases in comparison to those received by the Boomers during the economic recession.
Middle management is a threatened job position going forward presenting additional challenges for move-up decisions. There will be more serious consideration of higher density, smaller urban family solutions, but most will prefer the well located suburban solutions.
Exurban solutions will be challenged as commuting costs continue to rise.
Boomer’s attempting to move from their McMansions will provide some opportunity for Thirteeners to acquire more house than they might have expected. In fact the obsolescence of these houses will provide a substantial drag on the existing home market.
The education of their children will provide additional economic challenges.


Many fewer Boomers will be considering second or vacation homes due to their household economic challenges. More likely they will consider “right-sizing” of their primary residence even if it requires selling their current residence below their expectations. Living costs will “require” such decisions in some cases.
Some boomers will return the favor to their Millennial children by creating the other side of multi-generational housing.


“Right-Sizing” is just the precursor or “retirement” housing which will face similar challenges.
In many cases “assisted” living options will prove too economically challenging requiring Silent-Thirteener multi-generational households.
Life-stage changes cause large increases in consumer spending. All life-stage changes are now in hiatus and will be delayed for as many as five – six years continue to challenge the needed increases in GDP.

Thank you to Chuck Graham for helping me to understand about the people side of the real estate equation. These are the buyers and sellers. They are the market.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012
Just When Charlotte Needs
A Super Hero! Condo CanDo!

How To Define Zoning

My blogs and podcasts, my web and Twitter reflect my day, that makes sense. I am face to face with zoning everyday but not in a way that is immediately recognizable. In my life as a real estate broker I have rarely looked at a building or house or driveway and remarked about a violation. Experience is the teacher we learn and after recent months of a laborious zoning discrepancy, I look at everything with a new eye. And then, of course, I theorize, I try to define “Zoning” in a way that gives it life or soul or fancy or…well, you get my drift.

Zoning gives a voice to reason. Planning the details is writing the symphony for a city or town or village. Being careful and precise and sometimes even bold as a city grows and matures falls in the realm of zoning and rezoning. I think of Paris and how the height of buildings is people-scape. Paris seems friendly. New York for example seems monolithic. Back when I worked out West for a while and in and out of Houston, well, Houston then, in the early eighties, had no zoning. For me, it was unordered, random, untamed. It was, after all, the West.
In Charlotte, I get a sense of planning. Maybe it began when the trading paths of the Natives crossed at 77 and 85 or when the Square became the center point of our city, Trade and Tryon. Planning created our parks and our neighborhoods, planning conceived and built the Queens Road loops, the wider than usual Elizabeth Ave. and Clement, planning made the bold sweeps and zoning brought the details. One of the latest good strokes was the capping the height of buildings across the city. This decision came out of a rezoning request in Myers Park. As Charlotte grows, as our density increases and urbanism becomes a watchword, the folks in planning and zoning are ever attentive, they listen to all the voices.
My awareness of zoning has grown. So I took myself off to visit with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Manager, Tammie Keplinger. Her focus is on Rezoning. We had a great chat about her background and rezoning. Check out our podcast at