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Chevron Phillips $8.5B plant expansion could impact housing market in Orange County

When there's an influx of temporary workers coming to an area, there's a higher demand for rental properties, which can impact the buying and selling market.

ORANGE COUNTY, Texas — An $8.5 billion plant expansion could soon increase housing demand in Orange County.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC announced in November 2022 that it has selected a site in Orange County for an "integrated polymers" facility in partnership with QatarEnergy.

The company says the new plant will create more than 500 full-time jobs as well as about 4,500 construction jobs while the facility is built.

RELATED: Chevron Phillips picks Orange County for $8.5B plant expansion that could bring 500 full-time jobs

Chevron official said they are looking to hire area talent.

“The use of local talent is a must,” Bryan Canfield, Senior Vice President of Chevron Phillips Chemical, said. “I have experience working in that area twice. Lamar has produced a lot of high caliber employees that I have worked with as well as Lamar Institute of Technology. They are so essential.”

Laurah Rieson, a real estate agent with Connect Realty, says this influx will consist of people looking for both permanent and temporary housing.

"The housing market currently, we've seen it rising up since the summer. So if we're looking at that much coming in, we're looking at our inventory dropping a bit," she said. 

The inventory refers to how many houses are on the market, but one of the more immediate changes residents will see in the housing market is renting. 

"You might see more people trying to purchase homes to rent them out specifically, or purchase them to flip them so that someone else can rent them out," Rieson. 

When there's an influx of temporary workers coming into an area, there is a higher demand for rental properties, RV's, AirBNB's and other types of short-term rentals. 

These short-term rentals can ultimately impact the buying and selling market.

"As long as your monthly note is the same as or below what you'd pay for rent, you're gonna see people still buying houses, people still selling houses, things still moving," Rieson said. 

While a higher demand usually means higher prices, Rieson says this could also be a good opportunity for those who already own properties in the area.

"It would be a great time to go ahead and put yourself on the market and you know, see what you can get out of it. It's a great time to have a quick sale," she said. 

Rieson also says if more people come in looking to buy a limited number of homes and offering over asking price, the market value also goes up.

The new facility would not be far from the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant on FM1006.

A  joint venture company, Golden Triangle Polymers Company LLC, has been created by the two companies for the project, according to a Chevron Phillips news release.

RELATED: Orange County residents excited, concerned amid upcoming Chevron Phillips plant expansion

The announcement has brought a mixture of excitement and concern to Orange residents. Many are elated to welcome the new plant to their city.

"It's very exciting,” Janine, Orange resident, said. “I mean, we're a plant city."

Many are already eyeing the new jobs that will be much closer to home.

“I have nephews that I'm hoping that you know, find good jobs,” Janine said.

In addition to jobs and economic growth, many believe the facility will also bring life to the area.

"When I moved to Orange, it was booming,” Janine said. “Then I seen it die down. So, this plant coming in, the hospital come in, I just see positive growth all over Orange, and it's a very good thing."

With the excitement also comes concern. Residents believe that some unwelcome changes may come with the new addition.

The cost of living and crime are some of the top concerns residents brought up.

"Living expenses actually, in all the groceries and stuff like that,” Axel Merle, Orange resident, said. “Also traffic is going to go up. With that, you know, comes crime.”

The city is already addressing some of the concerns.

"During the construction process, traffic will be tight, especially in the congested area that we already have here at the intersection of 1006 and 87,” Orange Mayor Larry Spears said. “And so, you're going to have that. You're going to have a lot more people in town than you normally do.”

Mayor Spears said the city is hiring extra police officers to keep up with the population growth.

“We want to beef up our police force,” Mayor Spears said. “Make sure that we prepared to have more people within the city limits of our community because we want to make sure that we're still doing what's best for everyone, protecting everyone.”

Construction has already begun on the refinery, and the company hopes to have everything operational by 2026.

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