Assessing U.S. Mega Trends & The Impact On U.S. Commercial Real Estate


Will McIntosh, Ph.D
Global Head of Research

Mark Fitzgerald, CFA, CAIA
Senior Director, Research

John Kirk, CAIA, CCIM
Senior Director, Research

January 2020

Mega Trends

Three “mega trends” have been driving and disrupting the global economy and real estate markets at least since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and they will remain powerful forces for many years to come.

  1. Population aging: At the top of this list sits the predictable and inescapable demographic trend of population aging, a powerful force that has important implications for the U.S. economy and real estate demand.
  2. Low growth and low yield: The aging trend figures prominently in the second mega trend, the slow growth and low yield world that has characterized the economic and investment environment since the GFC and is unlikely to change materially in the decade ahead.
  3. Tech Disruption: Finally, the third mega trend, disruptive technology, is as potent and all-encompassing as it is difficult to capture fully. Technology is clearly affecting every aspect of the real estate business – from the design and use of space, to tenant demand, property investment, and asset management. While robotics and automation will inevitably replace some human jobs, these and other technological advancements may very well be our best hope for escaping the low growth world and for offsetting some of the effects of population aging.