First Quarter Economic Indicator – A look forward
Now wrapping up Q1 and moving into Q2, at Miles-McClellan Construction, we continue to see a confusing assortment of trends. Below is a quick summary of what we have been seeing over the last 30 days and what we expect more of in Q2:
- The broad trend speaks to the continued rising interest rates but now with an added twist of uncertainty around the banking industry’s stability. As a result of recent bank collapses and the discussions around bank capitalization and the quality of the assets on the balance sheets, lending has started to tighten. At Miles-McClellan Construction, we are experiencing many projects that are either delayed or canceled due to financing issues.
- The private construction market continues to slow down because of rising construction costs and interest rates. As a result, we continue to bid on the plethora of public projects available this spring. Two notable trends in this bidding arena are: 1) we are starting to see a longer list of GC bidders on each project, and 2) we are also starting to see more subcontract numbers come in under each trade category of each bid. This trend will eventually lead to lower pricing, as increased competition always does.
A couple of specific examples to share are:
Craig Richards, Vice President, “In the past few years, concrete pricing held pretty steadily while other materials were escalating. However, in the last year, concrete pricing has been on the rise. For example, we paid $135.50/CY on a mid-sized project in August of 2022. We are starting a similar project this May 2023, and concrete is now $155.50/CY – a 15% increase.”
Matt Recchiuti, Vice President, “I was recently talking to a client, and she had just found out that the 1,000,000 SF warehouse project she was going to manage was being canceled. The cancellation was because the lessee agreed to lose their deposit while backing out of the lease.”
Brad Bloomberg, Vice President, “My team used to bid 1-2 public jobs a month, and now we are averaging 5-7 per month. That is a swing of 75% private bidding to 75% public bidding over the last quarter.”
Kevin Joseph, Project Executive, “We recently contacted a shower door supplier to revisit pricing we originally received in September 2022. As a result of our inquiry, the manufacturer lowered their shipping costs by 50%, giving the owner significant project savings.”
Between now and our next publication, we will closely monitor interest rate projections and construction costs as the competition increases. We will need this up-to-date information as we work to provide our clients with competitive and realistic project budgets.