June 19, 2024

Available housing in the vicinity of Intel Corp.’s future development south of Johnstown and northeast of New Albany is scarce, and demand is already growing, three years before Intel’s manufacturing facility is expected to be operational.
Some local real estate agents say they are fielding calls from current Intel employees and investors from California, Oregon and Arizona who are seeking homes right now.
“It’s crazy, we’ve never had this before,” says Jane Kessler Lennox of New Albany Realty. “There are a lot of people out there who saw what happened in Silicon Valley and know what kind of investment Intel is putting into Columbus.”
Intel has said it will invest at least $20 billion in its facility, which will churn out computer chips. Some of the company’s employees and outside-of-Ohio real estate investors are not waiting around.
“People are looking to buy homes now and rent them out because they know in a few years it will be more difficult to find houses,” Kessler Lennox says. “Investors are looking for places to put their money, and real estate is more secure than stock market options currently.”
Homes in Central Ohio, which is considered the fifth hottest real estate market in the nation by Norada Real Estate Investments, are already tough to find.
While most developers are reluctant to share details of projects in the area, the Pulte Group has a 200-lot site in Johnstown, and D.R. Horton is proposing a 302-home subdivision just outside of Heath, which is about 25 miles east of New Albany.
Finding available land around the Intel site that can be supported by needed infrastructure for new homes is also going to be a challenge, says Sue Van Woerkom, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors and an agent with Corcoran Global Living. And the property around the site is expensive.
“Land is a premium out there, and I’ve heard some is going for $55,000 per acre,” she says. “And just because you own acres, it doesn’t mean it can be developed. There’s a lot to look into.”
Some of that infrastructure includes the need for road access and the availability of water and sewer lines, electricity and phone service.
Intel reportedly paid $148,000 per acre for its Central Ohio land. Beside home development, the Intel factories will attract other companies to the area, but they will face the same issues, says Scott Hrabcak, an agent with HER Commercial Real Estate.
“Infrastructure is going to drive a lot of the development out there,” he says. “At the end of the day it will be interesting to see how we handle the housing stock because a lot of companies will be making announcements in the coming weeks about coming here.” 
This story is from the August 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.

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