‘If you build it, they will come’ is the common expression, but only if ‘they’ can physically get there. No one wants to build in an area that isn’t accessible, unless you’re developing the next Los Alamos. The 21st century is all about connectivity and investment into infrastructure enables just that – whether it’s connecting urban cores to suburban centres or connecting individuals in rural areas to the internet.
Extending the reach of existing public transit systems, for example, means that developers have a foundation from which to undertake new residential and commercial projects, particularly as the density of many urban hubs becomes stretched and individuals find the need to shift further and further away from city centres due to cost issues. Building a large-scale development an hour away from a city centre may not initially make sense for a developer, but the developer may reconsider if travel time to that area can be cut in half.
It’s also important to keep in mind that infrastructure spending doesn’t even necessarily mean ‘new’ construction. Our highways and streets are, on average, over 28 years old so a large fraction of existing projects just involve repair and maintenance. Enhancing and improving public access is one of the few issues that has bi-partisan support, because everyone benefits from improved connectivity. Moreover infrastructure spending also doesn’t just relate to transportation it can also be a matter of safety – securing the integrity of our power grid, for example.
We will wait to see how a property developer will make his mark on the world and on the real estate market.