- March 1, 2009: Vol. 1, Number 3

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Asia Captures Half the World’s Population Growth: Urbanization and Middle-Class Growth Generate Phenomenal Real Estate Demand

by M. Leanne Lachman and Deborah Brett

Asia’s sheer size — in land and population — dwarfs the world’s other regions. With 3.7 billion residents, Asia accounts for 57 percent of global population. That share will drop to 55 percent by 2030, according to United Nations projections, but the continent will still capture half of earth’s population growth between now and then.

In terms of future real estate demand, population expansion provides an important underpinning, but two other demographic trends are equally beneficial: strong urbanization patterns and rapidly expanding middle classes. Every household moving from the country to a city needs shelter, and Asia’s demand for both affordable and workforce housing is insatiable.

Economic expansion in countries as diverse as Malaysia, Iran, China and India has created much larger middle classes with rapidly increasing buying power. A recent report by the McKinsey Global Ins

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