What We Do
The MFM Population Aggregate Forecast Model to Build-out Methodology is the beginning step in the development of an Interactive Growth Model™ for a metro area. The resulting product is a forecast of the aggregate population, in five-year increments to build-out and serves as a key input to an Interactive Growth Model® and thereafter to our proprietary sub-models.
Population Drives Housing Demand.
After the population forecast is complete, the Housing Sub-Model forecasts the change in household size and vacancy rates over time both in the aggregate and disaggregated levels by TAZ to generate a Housing Demand Forecast. As household sizes grow or shrink and vacancy rates increase or decrease the need for new housing changes. The Housing Demand Sub-Model is the only model that forecasts change in household size and vacancy rates for both Single-Family and Multi-Family uses by TAZ.
MFM monitors building permits for metro areas and compares the permits being issued against the Housing Demand forecast. As the number of actual permits reported by the metro area falls above or below the forecast, trends are identified for our clients to incorporate into their strategic plans. For example, one metro area showed a surge in residential permits of 150% from the average in one year. The next year 200% of the average permits were issued. In the third year 300% of the average yearly permits were issued. The first year of unusual data does not constitute a trend but as the second and third year’s data is added, a clear trend showed the number of permits being issued within the metro area was out of character with the forecasted growth in population and subsequent housing demand forecast. Today, the metro area has recovered from the over-building according to the MFM forecast for this metro area. The Housing Demand Sub-Model indicates this specific metro area is poised for a justified high-growth period in the near future. We know there is a surge of growth in Housing Demand in the immediate future because the actual population data has been below the forecasted growth for six years. However, the model recognizes these periodic growth adjustments and can be used to recognize that when population is growing faster or slower than the curve it will adjust in subsequent years to approach the average predicted by the model.
Rooftops = Commercial Demand.
Population Drives Commercial Goods and Services Demand. Following the population forecast, the Commercial Sub-Model forecasts the Commercial Goods and Services of a metro area for each of the zones. Demand for various commercial shopping center sizes is provided by zone and adjacent zones can have their demands added to determine the market area for a specific size center. For example, it may take 30 TAZs to provide enough market population to support a center today but in ten years it may take only half of those original TAZs to support that same center. This sub-model is useful for commercial developers and retailers to strategically plan where and when their stores will be supported well in advance of the actual demand occurring. Local government planning agencies have used this sub-model to designate these future commercial centers on their Future Land Use Maps and even rezone the subject parcels commercial so that future residents know a shopping center is planned for their neighborhood well in advance. Retailers, restaurants, hotels and other goods and services providers can utilize this information to acquire or option real estate sites at reduced rates well in advance of demand creation.
Who Do We Help?
- Local Governments
- Independent Government agencies (Schools, Fire Departments, Special Districts)
- Residential Developers & Builders
- Commercial Developers
- Hotel/Motel Developers
- Water and Sewer Utility Providers
- Support for Market Studies
- Support for Appraisals
- Permitting and Grant Application Justifying Resource Allocations Such As Water Supply
Metro Forecasting Models collects large amounts of data about the population history and plans for any geographic area and builds that data into our model at the Traffic Analysis Zone level. The model then produces a forecast of population growth in 5 year increments to build-out or 80 years into the future by socio-economic peer groups. The model for an overall community is truly a very complex set of models for each Traffic Analysis Zone that interact with each other to create the overall forecasts for the community. Metro Forecasting Models employs an 8 step process that incorporates hundreds to thousands of data attributes in very complex mathematical algorithms for each forecast we create.
Commercial Zoning Forecast
The business community in the City of Cape Coral, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, was concerned that there were not sufficient commercial lands zoned to meet the needs of current and future populations. The Interactive Growth Model® forecasted where the neighborhood, community and regional shopping centers should be located and when there would be a market to support them. The city rezoned to meet these commercial needs and to schedule infrastructure to serve these sites.
Infrastructure Demand Forecast
A fast growing University city in Alabama was experiencing requests for annexations by developers and needed to determine future impacts of development projects on the community. The Interactive Growth Model® forecasted the need for and timing of infrastructure, the demand and location of commercial centers and future student enrollment.
Justify Commercial Development Projects
Commercial developers use the Interactive Growth Model to determine where to develop and when a market will support their commercial project to obtain approvals for development.
Transportation Demand Forecasts
Metropolitan Planning Organizations and traffic consultants use the Interactive Growth Model® to forecast future transportation needs for large scale projects and metro areas.
The Interactive Growth Model is used to forecast new single family and multifamily housing units, commercial centers, siting of fire stations, programing of infrastructure and other needs of the private and public sector.
Better Data + Smaller Zones = Accurate Forecasts
Metro Forecasting Models forecasts population growth and related demographics at the most granular geographic detail available. Other population forecasting tools are only able to forecast population growth at the MSA or census block level. The Interactive Growth Model® from Metro Forecasting Models forecasts population growth and related demographics at the Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ) level.
Our Data Collection and Input Process
For the MFM disaggregate forecast, we collect many thousands of data points from each MSA including specific attributes for every parcel within the MSA. We then group the collected data in hundreds or thousands of discrete areas known in the planning industry as Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ for short). By example, our model disaggregates the Lee County Florida Metro Area into 1434 discrete zones and forecasts population growth for each of these zones. A TAZ is a specific geographic area that contains many lots/parcels/tracts with a combined population of less than 3,000 people.
Our algorithms analyze each TAZ’s development potential on an individual basis. The model then groups the zones by order from most likely to be developed to least likely. This same analysis is then repeated in 5-year increments until theoretical build-out is determined. From the forecasted data we can identify those zones that are built out, those that are experiencing rapid growth and those that demonstrate slow growth.
Almost all other forecasters use linear extrapolation and continue to project growth even after an area is fully built-out or fails to forecast growth in a smaller growth area that is about to explode. Typical forecasts result in overestimating or underestimating growth. Metro Forecasting Models proprietary methods result in the most accurate forecasts available and empower our customers to maximize fiscal performance.
But Wait, There’s More!
We have sub-models that forecast where, when and how much water and sewer demand will occur for a metro area. We also have an Industrial Land Use Allocation sub-model, a School Plant Allocation sub-model and a Fire Station sub-model.