“With those available funds diminishing, it will be more of a challenge to develop properties,” said Chris Runyan, president of the Ohio Contractors Association.
This also could translate into reduced incentives that governments offer to lure new development, as well as an increase in permit fees. “Are fees going to go up?” Ms. Loveall said. “Absolutely, they are.”
That makes the construction industry increasingly nervous as it tries to figure out how many workers to keep on the payroll. Construction jobs have risen steadily in the last two months, according to Department of Labor figures, climbing to nearly 7.2 million in June after falling to about 6.6 million in April, when pandemic-induced lockdowns were in full effect.
“It is very unsettling with all the uncertainty because our construction folks have been poised to do a lot of work, and now the rug has been pulled out from under them,” said Dave Simpson, president and chief executive of Carolinas AGC, a trade group for construction and related industries in North Carolina and South Carolina.
That leaves developers looking to the basic tenet of real estate deals — location, location, location — as they try to read the future.
In Pittsburgh, for example, city officials have been working to improve options for cyclists and pedestrians, including expanding bike lanes and walkways, said Patrick J. Sentner, an executive vice president for CBRE, the commercial real estate firm. But whether the city can sustain those efforts will depend on the revenue picture for infrastructure supporting development.
“Every market will be impacted a little differently,” he said. “What happens in New York will not be the same as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago or Tulsa.”