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By DAN SABBATINO
Local Realty USA representative Scott Varley said he is expecting a bump in housing demand over the next few years as a result of development centered around GLOBALFOUNDRIES. With some already moving into the area to begin work at the chip manufacturer, the next few years could prove eventful for developers and real estate agents, he said.
Varley is president of the Scot Varley Group based in Saratoga Springs and represents builders of the Jenna Forest development in Luther Forest.
“This is just the beginning of what could very easily change the fascia of the housing market in Saratoga County as GLOBALFOUNDRIES expects to employ a total of 1,600 people by 2014,” said Varley. “Additionally, if you combine the vendors and suppliers that will certainly cluster nearby the Malta plant, thousands of more jobs will be created by the time the plant opens.”
Varley said since the employees will look to live as close to the chip fab as possible, having enough housing will ensure the demand does not outpace the supply and cause existing housing to rise beyond affordability.
He acknowledged some employees will already be living in the area, and others will be renting, but said adequate housing is a must. Jessica Shadra, a representative of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, said the company is expecting to hire about 80 percent of its workforce from within the immediate area, but acknowledged a number of employees will be imported from other facilities within the company and other specialized workers not already working with the chip manufacturer.
Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville has expressed concerns about over developing Malta while others agree with Farley more housing is needed.
Varley said in a statement he expects an increase in demand for housing in the $300,000 plus range due to the well paying jobs offered in “tech valley.”
He said it is unclear if housing prices in the rest of the Capital District will rise, but prices might “stabilize” in areas further south down the I-87 Northway due to their proximity to the Albany County Airport and College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany.
Information from the Greater Capital Association of REALTORS indicates the Capital District residential market is in a position to make a recovery from the economic difficulties in the housing market over the last few years, but has yet to respond to the favorable market. GCAR representatives cited low interest rates as one reason for those expectations.
“All these factors would suggest that our market would be much more active than it is. It appears that perhaps Capital Region residents are still unsure about the local economy, and more importantly, about their own piece of the local economy- their jobs,” said Paul Semanek, GCAR president.
Varley said, though, at least in Saratoga County, he is already receiving inquiries from potential residents and some are from outside of the US. He cited one worker from Dresden, Germany who has already relocated to work at the Malta facility.