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Micron’s to Spur CNY Real Estate Boom

Cicero, Pennellville, Phoenix and Central Square are some of the areas likely to see a spike in housing development, say experts

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Micron Technology’s plans to invest in $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a memory and storage technology production facility in Clay will affect the region in innumerable ways, including real estate. 

With a continuing housing shortage, an influx of new workers to the region could further increase demand for housing.

“Micron is definitely affecting the Central New York real estate market and likely will more so in the near future as workers are needed for construction and then to work for the company,” said Amber Spain-Mosher, New York state licensed real estate salesperson with RE/MAX Masters in Skaneateles. “As for now, we’re seeing an uptick in the number of investors and businesses buying land, existing homes and commercial buildings.

“For both investors and future employees, we can think of it like an impact ripple moving out from Clay where Micron is set to build and where the impact is greatest and rippling out across our Central New York real estate market.”

Spain-Mosher thinks that Micron will affect Phoenix, Pennellville and Central Square the most. Spain-Mosher recently spoke with a local home builder who said that he, along with other home builders have discussed getting together to talk about what to do about the housing shortage, since the number of existing homes is not sufficient to meet the coming need.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Judy Winslow, licensed real estate broker for Hunt Real Estate ERA in Manlius. “Every real estate conversation I have is about it. I have buyers who are buying investments in single family homes to rent out in anticipation of the value going up in these homes.”

She feels certain that CNY will see increases in new construction as well, both for rental units and single-family homes. Despite a potentially worsening housing crunch — at least for a while — Winslow anticipates that Micron joining the CNY business landscape “will bring more jobs and things will be better for everyone.”

Rentals will likely be more for short-term workers constructing the site.

As for employees, “they’ll have to bring in people from other cities to work there so it’s bound to put pressure on the market,” said Thomas K. Elleman Sr., real estate agent with Howard Hanna in Manlius.

Micron has touted its future facility as one that will offer high-paying jobs. For this reason, Elleman believes that construction will likely outpace home sales. He anticipates more home construction in outlying areas such as Cicero, Lysander, Phoenix and Fulton. But for some people working at Micron, paying more for an existing home will suit them better.

“New housing will be more expensive and you have to wait,” Elleman noted.

But with higher demand, more people will be vying for any particular house, driving its price up.

With more people and the trickle-down growth of more suppliers of goods and services in the area, “we’ll see more tax dollars in the area.”

Sometimes, rapid growth in a city can cause “sprawl,” where lack of planning creates less than pleasing results.

Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO, views Micron’s coming as “historic” and able to “create untold opportunities for the entire region.”

Yet he also said that those from the public and private sector who have worked to bring Micron here have “focused on initiatives to prepare our workforce and create needed housing and infrastructure advancements. This includes promoting smart growth strategies that prevent unnecessary sprawl, maintain affordability of housing and ensuring disadvantaged communities aren’t negatively impacted. We are fortunate to have Micron as our newest partner in these efforts.”

While it is easy to see why Micron excites area planners and real estate agents, the company’s plans involve building at the Clay site for the next 20 years. A lot can happen in two decades.

“It is a significant waiting period,” said Faye Beckwith, real estate agent and co-owner of Freedom Real Estate in Hannibal. “The entry-level people they will hire are not even in kindergarten yet. Some things will happen immediately but it’s hard to know. How could there be a bigger demand than there already is? There is big demand for rentals already. Condos and townhouses are relatively new around here. Some effects I’ve seen over 38 years in the real estate business is when there is a problem with energy or fuel prices, more specifically automobile fuel, people tend to purchase homes closer to the cities. If that’s not a major concern for buyers, they’ll venture into the countryside.”

Like Winslow, she anticipates more new construction in outlying areas if a builder and the goods are available. Because people coming to Clay will want a home right away, Beckwith thinks modular homes should increase in popularity. As Micron gains steam, more people considering downsizing will go for it.