The long real estate slump hasn’t been kind to Chicago real estate agents and mortgage lenders. There’s no arguing this.
But these real estate professionals aren’t the only ones hurting because of the housing slowdown in the city.
Last month, I interviewed Wayne Smith, president of Chicago’s Pioneer Engineering and Environmental Services. Developers call on Pioneer to perform environmental site assessments before they build on tracts of land.
As you can guess, this isn’t the best time for development, residential or commercial, in the city. No one’s building anything.
Fortunately, Pioneer works with other clients, too: The company counts law firms, real estate brokers and lenders among its customers.
There’s no denying, though, that the lack of developer business hurts.
However, Smith is optimistic about the real estate market today. He’s seeing signs that real estate activity is increasing.
“Our Phase 1 environmental assessment services business line has increased more than 30
percent in the last quarter when compared to the year-ago quarter,” Smith told me in a phone interview. “Our
activity in getting requests for proposals has also increased. I’d say
that requests for proposals have increased more than 32 or 33 percent
in the same time period. Those are two nice indications that things are
starting to break loose a little bit, that there are more opportunities
for transactions to happen.”
I hope Smith is right. And I know all the landscape companies, home stagers, home-improvement retailers, interior decorators, moving companies and every other company that depends on a strong housing market hopes so, too.