Despite the downturn, some property types are likely to fare better
this year, says Ken Riggs, CRE, president and CEO of Real Estate
Research Corp.

Student housing.

The combination of two factors—universities facing a financial
squeeze and the surge of college-bound Generation Y members, the second
largest demographic in the United States—creates strong demand for
student housing. Declining employment opportunities mean higher
college enrollments, says Riggs.

Medical offices.

Aging boomers and their readiness to spend on health care make this
a solid investment, especially if located near hospitals and nursing

Tax-credit housing.

An unmet need for affordable housing, combined with the federal
government’s willingness to provide funding via low-income housing
grants and tax-exempt housing bonds, may make this an attractive niche
for conventional multifamily developers.

Residential building lots.

Smart developers are compiling parcels now so that approvals can be
in place. Lots are becoming targets for vulture funds that want to
profit from the housing crisis and buy at 50 percent of value or less,
says Riggs.

Neighborhood centers.

Retail is risky at best, but people will always need staples, even
in the tough times. That’s why neighborhood retail centers are a
winner, especially in mature trade areas with a strong grocery or drug
store anchor.