Herkimer’s soaring into a brave new world, as people migrating from our coasts to climate and pandemic safety zones such as upstate New York move here, contending briskly for homes. A house in our cute conveniently located village seems to sell every 90 seconds, even as prices continue ever upward. The sharp-eyed will have spotted license plates from as far away as Alaska and Washington state, California and Texas, with the Carolinas and Florida well-represented.
There are a phenomenal number of people scoping out our once forgotten area. Linda Kaidan’s photos of the Mohawk Valley, centered on Herkimer, have had over 4 million views. In the last 30 days, The Herkimer Post has enjoyed almost 15,000 page views, 90% of them from new visitors. We have a well-earned reputation for telling it as it is. And you do want to know how it is there before you commit to someplace new. (“We Publish What They Won’t” proclaims our masthead. We are not “The Herkimer Happy Hour.”)
When the eviction moratorium ends, we’ll probably see more houses for sale here as nonpaying tenants are moved on and battered owners decide to wash their hands of what was once a safe, reliable investment. Even then there won’t be enough housing stock to meet the press of the demand.
Historically in boom times, undeveloped land is the next to go. Given the rapid growth of chip manufacturing in Upstate, notably Cree in Utica, this region may become the new Silicon Valley. Hopefully, New York will impose strict controls on growth. I hope we won’t see our magnificent countryside crammed with houses and choked by traffic.
Why Housing for NYC’s Climate Refugees? Everywhere we’re finally acknowledging the immediacy of coastal climate change devastation. Now is the time to replace traditional spending behaviors with healthy behaviors that can save millions of people and millions of dollars.
For example, we might ask, can we put part of NY’s $90.2 billion FY 2020 budget to better use as an investment in new permanent housing for 1 million coastal residents migrating to inland homes in Central NY?
New Housing for 1+ Million People
$60 billion will create infrastructure and homes for 1 million people in Central NY (CNY). The existing Utica/Rome SMSA population is roughly 350000. With CNY quadrupling in size, exciting opportunities will exist for workers, learners and investors.
Central NY has elevations well above the maximum predicted sea level rise. These range from 400 ft to 800 ft above sea level. New York State has the resources and wisdom to prepare for inevitable devastation by directing investments to critical targets that will promote security and prosperity. Rerouting coastal investment to optimal inland locations is key to our success!
This May Amazon posted a $7,250 DIY guest cabin/home that most anyone can build in 8 hours. All available supplies were immediately sold out. When 2 people share such a space each would have a one time rent just under $303 a month for the first year and no rent thereafter. Though initial reviews indicated that purchasers were critical of the product, they illustrated the strength of demand.
Great lack of affordable housing likely factor
The amazing popularity indicates the desire many people have to own their own home in a time when housing is not affordable for 50% of the population. Such a tiny property can lead to economic freedom from the rent treadmill. It also ensures housing security in a time when so many are homeless.
New off the shelf market will spark business opportunities
Food for thought about the living small market in general ties into real estate, cooperative housing and products supporting multi-use spaces in home construction and renovation. People need affordable homes. When they live tiny, they pay less for housing and use less energy.
Rewards for homeowners, investors and affordable housing seekers
If you are a homeowner think about adding this inexpensive space to your backyard for guests or as a workshop. If you are an investor, think about how you can make it easy for individuals to finance tiny home living.
Amazon shows us that it’s possible to live better for less and that profitable home products can fuel an industry that has great positive impact on how we live. It’s important to think of the tiny home as a place to begin. It’s a springboard for new ideas and learning from experience.
Think about how you can participate in this new housing trend that contributes to affordable living, green energy and many new related industries.