When in Doubt about the Economy, ask a Trucker!

In Commercial Market, Construction, Florida Real Estate Market, Market Analysis, Residential Market by Patricia Staebler

Back in early 2005 when the real estate market reached never before seen heights I was hired for a marketability study. The client wanted me to investigate if a planned mixed-use development in the Sarasota/Bradenton area would be feasible.

In a marketability analysis we investigate supply and demand and the general economics in the market area and the region. The data we need for this kind of study can be purchased, for example from  REIS reports and the ESRI institute or the data can be collected by the appraiser through interviews of developers, builders, real estate brokers and real estate investors.

One often overseen source for trending the general economic in the region and the nation are truckers. I started my market investigation rather unconventionally and had some hearty breakfasts and good chats in trucker joints. Truckers are the first in the economy cycle to recognize when the economy is going downhill. An overwhelming number of truckers told me that their books are not full and the loads are less, and many feared the coming years, predicting economic hardship among truckers.

Today we know, all this became true and truckers were the first to suffer in the downturn of the economy.

Last week I drove from the Raleigh area back home and the large numbers of trucks I had to share the road with blew me away. Most of them were closed semi trailers but the trucks with the open cargo bed were the most interesting ones: precast concrete building parts, AC condenser units, large chillers, roof trusses, wood, welding rods, small machinery, backer board, shingles and more. And this kind of traffic was going in both directions, north and south.

I think it is time to have another hearty breakfast with some truckers to learn about our immediate economic future. But from what I have seen on my road trip to and from Raleigh, I am compelled to say there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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