MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The new jobs at the Ford Electric Vehicle plant could potentially energize and challenge the West Tennessee real estate market, which will need thousands of new homes and apartments for employees.
A celebration of Ford Motor Company’s major decision to build an electric vehicle and manufacturing campus at the Memphis Regional Megasite took place at Shelby Farms on Tuesday. This announcement came with confirmation that thousands of jobs will be added into the Memphis-area economy.
“We have to have access to 6,000 people to work here and many other direct people as the governor said. It’s the access and commitment to train,” says Jim Farley, Ford’s President and CEO.
Ford’s manufacturing campus, called Blue Oval City, is planned for 3,600 acres in Haywood County, about 30 miles northeast of the Memphis city limits near Interstate 40. The rural county’s population was estimated at just over 17,000 in 2019.
“It will mean enormous things economically for West Tennessee. As you heard, 27,000 indirect and direct jobs,” said Gov. Bill Lee.
The addition of thousands of jobs could also create economic challenges as well as opportunities for the area. One of those challenges will be buying a home.
“I anticipate it will be a boon as I told you earlier to the local real estate economy, but we’re already in a really tight market so it might be adding needs we may or may not be able to fill,” said Steven Ford, a co-owner and broker at Carter Group Realtors.
He says it takes about 180 days to build a new home and prices have already gone up for potential buyers. “They’re getting squeezed out now. There’s a whole bunch of people who’d like to buy a house. There are not a whole lot of houses to buy. All we’re going to do is add to that crowd,” Ford said.
Ford said that people hoping to rent an apartment will likely face a similar situation. “We do manage rental property and we’ve been full forever. Anytime we have a vacancy, we fill it within hours. It’s a very difficult environment right now,” he said.
There will be potential growing pains in the coming years for the Memphis area as it prepares for thousands of new jobs to roll into the Ford facility.
Some Realtors anticipate housing prices could continue to increase as more people compete to buy a limited number of existing homes.
“If you’re on the sidelines, it could be entertaining. If you’re in the fight, it could be a lot,” Ford said.