How Intel Could Impact Central Ohio’s Housing Market

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — This is the development with the potential to change the landscape of central Ohio.

Intel’s planned semiconductor chip factories in New Albany promise to create thousands of jobs with an average salary of $135,000, as well as thousands more spin-off jobs.

As the company that claims to have started the tech boom that gave way to the northern California region now known as Silicon Valley, could it trigger a spike in housing prices in central America? Ohio versus Silicon Valley?

“That’s a loaded question,” said Robert Vogt, managing partner of Columbus-based Vogt Strategic Insights, which analyzes housing markets in central Ohio and across the United States. “I would definitely see that happening here in central Ohio in terms of housing. Not certainly to the extent of California or Silicon Valley, but it will have a positive effect, I think from the perception of own a house here, that the value of your house will increase.

For renters and first-time home buyers, that could mean more trouble coming into an already tough housing market where supply is being outstripped by demand, Vogt said.

“That will continue to limit the supply problem,” Vogt said. “And that’s probably been our biggest challenge in delivering affordable housing is that we just haven’t built enough supply to keep people moving through the housing continuum.”

Affordable housing in central Ohio has become disproportionately out of reach for people of color. It’s a trend that the Columbus Urban League, led by President Stephanie Hightower, is following and actively trying to combat.

Hightower said she is working with minority developers and bankers to encourage more accessible construction and lending, as well as with advocates and educators who can provide training for fairer access to well-paying jobs.

“We’re going to have to catch him. We’re going to have to accelerate a lot of those conversations,” Hightower said, “We know that this wealth gap exists in a meaningful way, and it would only increase that wealth gap even further if we don’t start to understand this what affordable housing looks like in this community.

For Vogt, it looks like more high-density residential developments.

“In the suburbs, we’ve always been very single-family centric, and not so much in mixed-income and mixed-density neighborhoods,” Vogt said. “I hope this will lead us to take a close look at this situation and encourage higher density housing in some of our suburban communities.”

Both Hightower and Vogt said that with proper planning, the benefits of Intel’s operation will be many and far-reaching.

“How can we prepare these people, so that they can really participate in what is going to be a very exciting economic time for the community? So for me, it’s about not waiting for, you know, the bricks and sticks to start coming up,” Hightower said. “But what are we going to do as a community to make sure early on that black and brown people and minorities have the opportunity to be part of the economic boom that’s going to happen with Intel coming here?”

“I think if we’re able to resolve these issues, it will be a fantastic addition to Central Ohio that will impact us for years to come,” Vogt said.

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