Real estate journalists, real estate professionals and publicists gathered in Houston Wednesday for the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference, and the keynote opening speaker provided a list of key issues that will face housing and real estate in the months and years ahead.

Hugh Kelly, a professor of real estate at New York University and chairman of the Counselors of Real Estate, said the listing was created and voted on by the CRE. The full version deals with commercial real estate issues, and can be read here

Here are the seven items directly affecting residential real estate.

7) Housing

Kelly thinks that the housing market is in recovery mode, but he acknowledges home ownership continues to lag. While Case Schiller reports home prices rising by about 13% over last year, not all areas of the U.S. experience encouraging price increases. Despite moderate growth in the economy, U.S. Census data reflects the lowest rate of home ownership since 1995.

Credit is again tight, but as the job market improves, home purchases are expected to increase. The multifamily sector may feel downward pressure caused by transition from renting to buying -- at the same time an avalanche of new multifamily units is becoming available as a result of boom development in that sector over the past few years.

6) Capital Markets

Kelly thinks that the enticement of riding a high-yield wave is luring capital back into real estate, with investment in a wide variety of choices, from agricultural land to commercial mortgage backed securities.

Action by the Federal Reserve will affect the market as investors await extraction of Quantitative Easing, scheduled to be completed before year end. The question is whether or not we are headed for another “bubble.”

5) Water

The U.S. will likely experience serious water shortages as well, Kelly says. Aging water infrastructure, droughts (particularly in the southwest) and reduced water deliveries to agriculture have the potential to cause water-related economic problems. A number of states face severe water challenges; Las Vegas’ Lake Meade, which supplies 100% of the city’s water needs, is projected to have a 50% chance of drying out by 2025.

A 2013 U.S. government report showed that groundwater depletion in the U.S. for the years 2000 to 2008 was nearly three times greater than the average rate of depletion for the preceding 108 years -- from 1900 to 2008. Some future projections project 1.8 billion people living in regions with confirmed water scarcity by the year 2025.

The implications for real estate are enormous – affecting land value, community desirability, future viability and investment. Consider also that China is home to 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of its fresh water. Water may become a political issue as well as a health issue in a relatively short timeframe.

Click below for numbers 1-4.