By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Many different factors point to the possibility of a housing construction boom coming to CNY in the next few years.
Micron Technology, Inc.’s investment is slated to bring 9,000 direct jobs and 40,000 community jobs to the area.
Rob Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, anticipates that the northern suburbs of Onondaga and southern Oswego counties “will see significant pressure for new houses” because of the uptick in jobs.
He believes that areas in Onondaga County are currently underutilized.
“We will be creating additional density in communities,” he said. “If southern Oswego County will be looked to in accommodating growth, there will be additional upgrades needed.”
As for areas ripe for development, he listed Fulton, Oswego, Phoenix and smaller villages among them, especially waterfront communities.
“Whether working for Micron or suppliers, these people are eager for community amenities,” Simpson said. “This is a golden age for urban center and regional development.”
As for outlying areas, such as Madison, Cortland, Cayuga, Oneida and Wayne counties, he feels uncertain if the Micron effect will spread that far.
Mark DeAngelis Jr. vice president of Mark Antony Homes in Syracuse, feels “very optimistic” about the housing market.
“We’ll have astronomical growth for the next 10 years,” he said. “This year is looking really steady.”
The lumber prices are stabilizing nationally. He said that overall inflation will not allow builders to get back to the pricing to which homebuyers were accustomed. The biggest hurdle he faces as a builder is the cost of labor. With huge numbers of skilled, experienced baby boomers retiring, “we’re seeing a big void,” DeAngelis said. “It’s a lot of opportunity for younger people with the amount of work ahead.”
Attracting interest to working in the building trades challenges builders, as many young people are not interested in these fields. DeAngelis hopes that early workforce committees can generate more interest in the industry and that more young people would realize that apprenticeship programs can pay them to learn a trade and graduate with certifications and no debt.
“It’s a lot better path for a lot of people,” he said. “These are great skills. It boils down to wanting to go to work every day and then having the motivation to get out there and learn something. If you have those, you’ll have great opportunities that a lot of people are just being educated about.”
Although the Micron effect will doubtlessly bring a lot of change to CNY, Jay Fleming, owner of Jay Fleming Construction in Hastings, doesn’t believe that much change will happen in 2023, but in subsequent years, as Micron’s business gains momentum.
Cost of materials also matter.
“The cost of lumber has gone down, but as far as other materials, they’re still ridiculously high,” Fleming said. “It’s through the roof and still going up. People are dealing with the prices right now.”
The willingness to pay more does not always matter, as Fleming said shortages for certain goods still stall parts of building projects.
“It’s the main issue now; everyone’s running out of certain things,” he added. “A lot of things aren’t readily available. It takes longer to get stuff in.”
Mortgage interest rates also matter.
Current rates in Oswego are 5.18% for a 30-year fixed loan, 4.53% for 15-year fixed loan and 4.63% for a 5-year ARM. Syracuse rates are 6.51% for a 30-year fixed loan, 5.83% for 15-year fixed loan and 5.57% for a 5-year ARM. The average mortgage rate in 2019 was 3.94%.
“I’m not very optimistic about the housing market until interest rates and costs go down,” Fleming said.