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Plant impacting housing market even before completion

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Posted at 7:58 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 23:21:43-05

PORTLAND, Texas — The massive Exxon-SABIC plant, currently under construction in Gregory, apparently already is impacting the housing market in neighboring Portland.

"Our phones ring nonstop -- people looking for rental properties," North Bay Properties Realtor Kendra Merrell said. "And the rent prices have definitely gone up."

The website Neighborhood Scout lists the average monthly rent for Portland at $1,773. By comparison, Corpus Christi's average rent is $1,453. Merrell believes the estimated 6,000 workers involved in plant construction needing housing is part of the reason for her city's higher rent. But she says there are also other factors.

"Portland's a great town," she said. "It's small. It's safe. We've got good schools, and I think people don't mind paying a little bit more to live here."

People who buy their homes are paying more, too. Neighborhood Scout says the median home value there is $181,072. Compared to Corpus Christi, homes in Portland are almost $46,000 more valuable on average.

Despite the increase in demand, Merrell said Portland has been able to keep an adequate supply of housing by providing it in a variety of ways.

"We have a lot of new constructions that will be popping up soon, and several new apartment complexes have recently been built," she said. "And down the street in Gregory, we have a trailer park to help meet the needs of the people coming in."