Crane Counts


Type “crane counts” into your search engine, and the result will be scads of articles about various regional and national birdwatching organizations, and their annual counts of sandhill cranes, blue heron, and whooping cranes.

But appearing with the reports from the birders are construction crane counts. For example, the Rider Levett Bucknall index, compiled by construction and cost management entities, tracks real property investment activity. For those of us involved in commercial real estate, this is news we can use!

What do the counts mean to assessment professionals? They reflect construction and renovation activity (supply) and portend future changes in rents and cap rates, thus impacting property values.

Consider the early 2017 general trend in crane counts from major markets:

Increasing Counts
Austin
Chicago
Portland
Seattle

Static Counts
Boston
Denver
Honolulu
San Francisco
Washington DC

Decreasing Counts
Calgary
Los Angeles
New York
Phoenix
Toronto

I’m not suggesting you constantly track such an index (we can leave that to the construction geeks). Rather, the intent of this post is to remind you that values in your market are subject to almost constant change. While your market may be small compared to the metros cited above, supply and investment trends definitely filter down. Change happens everywhere, even if the cranes aren’t readily apparent.

It was hard work to get to those values, but you can’t stand on them forever.

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