New LVEDC Survey Reveals Perceptions of Brokers and Developers
By George Lewis on February 2, 2023
For several years, the Lehigh Valley has been among the hottest industrial real estate markets in the country. The region has added about 30 million square feet of industrial space in the last five years and interest remains strong, given the Lehigh Valley’s prime location, skilled workforce, transportation infrastructure, and business cost advantages relative to nearby competing markets.
Commercial real estate brokers and developers make up an important constituency of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), one with whom LVEDC maintains strong connections. In late 2022, LVEDC surveyed brokers and developers to assess their views and insights on where the regional market is headed in the year ahead.
“Research and analysis are essential to LVEDC’s strategy, so our ability to gather intelligence and get feedback from brokers and developers on industrial, manufacturing, and office space is invaluable,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.
The survey results, while revealing an overall positive view of the Lehigh Valley’s location, quality of life, and proximity to major East Coast markets, also reflects general uncertainty created by broader economic issues such as interest rates and inflation.
About half of the 21 respondents to the unscientific survey expect industrial and office real estate activity to decrease in 2023, while half see it increasing or staying the same. Those perceptions are backed by comments from respondents related to the higher cost of borrowing and the impact of inflation on the cost of construction materials.
One of the notable findings, considering the steady growth over the past decade in commercial real estate space in the Lehigh Valley, is a concern among respondents about land and building availability.
That issue was, by far, identified as the most significant obstacle facing the commercial real estate market, followed by permitting and zoning, and availability of labor for companies thinking about coming to or expanding in the Lehigh Valley.
The Lehigh Valley’s most attractive features cited by brokers and developers are its location and quality of life. More than 90% of respondents singled out those regional assets.
LVEDC engages the commercial real estate community through its Brokers and Developers Council, which is made up of industrial and commercial real estate brokers, site selection consultants, developers, bankers, corporate real estate executives, architects, engineers, construction professionals and others who support strategic growth and development in Lehigh Valley.
The survey was conducted in November and December around a Brokers and Developers Council event that LVEDC hosted on Dec. 6.
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