NEWS9 Special Assignment: Housing the Boom

NEWS9 Special Assignment: Housing the Boom

There is a lot of investment going into Brooke and Hancock counties now — and for the foreseeable future.

Manufacturer Bidell opened in September, and Italy-based manufacturer Pietro Fiorentini is set to open its doors next year.

The question is, as jobs are growing, is housing keeping pace?

“No, it would not be ready. For as many people are coming,” said Robin Viola, owner/broker/manager, Howard Hanna Mortimer Realty.

Houses are selling at a blistering pace.

“We do hear from people who say houses are not staying on the market long,” said Travis Blosser, Weirton city manager.

“It’s supply and demand; it’s simple economics,” Viola said. “People want houses. There is a very small supply. They are willing to pay top dollar and do it quickly.”

It’s an issue Viola and local leaders are well aware of, and one on which they seem to be in lockstep.

“The land is tied up,” Viola said. “The vacant land around here is owned. Until it’s being sold off, or somebody wants to develop, there is a limited amount of land close by.”

“The niche we need to capture, and the market we’re losing, is that middle- and upper-middle income housing, and we’re losing that places like Wheeling and Pittsburgh,” said Pat Ford, executive director, Business Development Corporation.

Ford says it’s a niche that’s beginning to get filled — and not a moment too soon.

“Housing is extremely important,” Ford said. “There are two things they look for and everything else falls into place after that: Real estate for their business, and housing for their workers.”

Real estate in the form of a new subdivision is taking shape at the site of the old Pleasant Valley Country Club in Weirton. It’s something different, Blosser said.

“For the first time in a couple of years, we’re seeing another subdivision come online,” Blosser said.

Nearly 40 homes that meet the desired price point — around $220,000. That’s housing that will fit the need of management types moving in.

“The employees, the regular individuals who work every day, we’ve got that market covered,” Blosser said.

“Very few people have the nerve to be the pioneer,” Forde said. “No one wants to be the first.”

With $350 million in investment headed to Brooke and Hancock counties, Blosser says this is just a sign of good things to come.

“We’ve got properties starting to be freed up. To come online for people starting to build on. That’s only going to continue,” Blosser said.

“This is great for sellers,” Viola said. “It’s definitely a seller’s market.”