January 2022

How Intel could impact central Ohio housing market

Courtesy of NBC4
By Jamie Ostroff
January 24, 2022

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s the development with the potential to change the landscape of central Ohio.

Intel’s semiconductor chip plants planned for New Albany promise to usher in thousands of jobs with an average salary of $135,000, plus thousands more indirect jobs.

As the company that claims it kickstarted the tech boom that gave way to the northern California area now known as Silicon Valley, could it kickstart a surge in housing prices in central Ohio that compares to 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 U.S. “I would certainly 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 owning a house here, that the value of your house is going to go up.”

For renters and first-time homebuyers, that could mean more difficulty ahead in an already tough housing market where supply is outpaced by demand, Vogt said.

“It’s going to continue to constrain the supply issue,” Vogt said. “And that has been probably our biggest challenge in providing affordable housing, is that we just haven’t built enough supply to keep people moving through the continuum of housing.”

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

Hightower said she has been working with minority developers and bankers to encourage more accessible building and lending, as well as advocates and educators who can provide training for more equitable access to high-paying jobs.

“We’re going to have to ratchet it up. We’re going to have to accelerate a lot of those conversations,” Hightower said, “We know that that wealth gap exists in a significant way, and this would only increase that wealth gap even more if we don’t start figuring out what affordable housing looks like in this community.”

To Vogt, it looks like more high-density housing developments.

“In the suburbs, we’ve been very centered around single-family all the time, and not so much in mixed-income and mixed-density neighborhoods,” Vogt said. “Hopefully, this will cause us to take a close look at that situation and encourage higher density housing in some of our suburban communities.”

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

“How do we get those people ready, so that they can actually participate in what is going to be a very exciting economic time for the community? So, for me, it’s about let’s not wait until, you know, the bricks and sticks start going up,” Hightower said. “But what are we as a community going to be doing to ensure early on that Black and brown people and minorities have an opportunity to be a part of the economic boom that’s going to happen with Intel coming here?”

“I think if we’re able to address 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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