As we head to the close of 2017, West Virginia has seen some promising economic news in the last two quarters. Housing and real estate is beginning to reflect this uptick on growth. As the data on 2017 begins to trickle in, it’s giving us a peek into the West Virginia 2018 market forecast. Let’s take a look:

A peek at 2017: Some hopeful growth

Q2 saw strong growth in West Virginia. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, West Virginia saw the 2nd highest GDP in the nation for the quarter. The growth has largely been attributed to mining and coal production increases that have added jobs to the state’s largest industry. In the previous few years, the sharp decline in mining and coal production hit the state’s economy very hard, but with recent increases, the economy is predicted to rise through the rest of 2017.

Other industries experiencing growth in 2017 include service sectors like health and education. The Eastern Panhandle region helped boost the consumer-oriented sectors like leisure, hospitality and retail. Income and job gains in our region have been healthy and the opportunities have provided a much-needed offset to the coal industry’s decline.

These smaller boosts to the economy were reflected in the housing numbers for the year so far. The real estate market is an excellent measure of how people are feeling about the economy. This confidence is demonstrated in the September’s second to lowest number of foreclosures so far in 2017, with March 2017 having the lowest. This increasing consumer confidence is bringing buyers into the market who may have previously been waiting for a more promising economic forecast.

West Virginia 2018 Market Forecast

Looking ahead, there a few notable and major economic development projects headed to the region in the coming year. Amazon will be building a $56.5 million e-commerce distribution center in Frederick county, adding approximately 1,000 jobs. Procter & Gamble is building a $500 million manufacturing facility in Berkeley County at the Tabler Station Business and Industrial Park. The plant will employ approximately 700 people. Other expansions coming to the region include the Navy Federal Credit Union and the FBI. NFCU’s planned expansion will bring an estimated 1,400 jobs, and the FBI will build a Central Records Complex in eastern Frederick County that will employ as many 446 people. Construction on the new facility has begun, and the site will open in 2020. These investments also bring growth in supporting industries, creating a positive outlook across multiple sectors. To get a fuller picture of the panhandle’s economic outlook, I recommend West Virginia University’s “The Eastern Panhandle’s Economic Outlook 2017-2021.”

With the generous increase in job growth, the real estate sector looks very promising for the Eastern Panhandle. Home prices in the region make it an attractive and affordable place to invest, and the commute to the new businesses in the area very reasonable. The Martinsburg area has a high vacant rate for housing, and if these homes are absorbed back into the market and become occupied, the market will feel the positive effects. Job growth can help increase occupancy rates, and investors, occupancy is a useful measure to consider.

In all, the region’s promising job growth makes for a promising West Virginia 2018 market forecast. We are primed for some healthy and potentially lucrative investment in the near future! Looking to invest? Contact us today!

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