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Taking a look at what Mylan leaving could do to real estate

For the 1,500 people who will lose their jobs when Viatris closes the Mylan oral solid dose manufacturing facility on Chestnut Ridge Road at the end of July, don’t panic and put your house up for sale, local realtors said.

“Given the notice and continuing negotiations for severance packages, I don’t anticipate seeing an uptick in listings for quite a few months,” said Melissa Berube, broker of White Diamond Realty LLC.

“And I would highly recommend against ‘panic selling.’ There are several months to come for people to make long-term exit plans, and if the previous layoff is any indication, the workers facing unemployment will have several months of severance during which to find alternate employment.”

Viatris, which completed its merger with Mylan Pharmaceuticals in mid-November, said earlier this month it was closing its Morgantown plant in July, a move that will result in 1,500 people losing their jobs. Viatris was formed when Mylan merged with Pfizer’s Upjohn Division. Morgantown is one of five plants the new company has targeted for downsizing or closing.

Barbara Alexander, owner and broker of Howard Hanna Premier Properties in Cheat Lake, said her firm has not yet received calls from any Mylan workers affected by the closure announcement. But that could change, especially in the spring when the residential market heats up and people put their homes up for sale.

“Our hopes are that the employees affected will find employment or change of careers and be able to stay in Morgantown and in their homes,” Alexander said.

But will that happen? That remains to be seen, realtors said.

“I am not personally aware that we’ve begun receiving phone calls (from affected Mylan employees),” said C’Anna Brown, a realtor with Compass Realty Group. “Certainly, the closure will have a large impact on our economy, which I hate to see.”

When the layoffs were announced earlier this month, John Deskins, who heads West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economics, said the layoffs would be felt throughout the community.

“Ultimately, this will create further losses in employment, spending and tax revenue,” he said earlier this month. “It will also damage the housing market in the Morgantown area. Ultimately it would probably take at least a couple of years to recover from this loss of this magnitude, aside from concerns associated with the pandemic.”

The average price of a single-family home in the Morgantown area is approximately $280,000. Realtors have said sellers are able to command these prices because of the salaries paid at WVU, the health systems and large employers like Mylan. By comparison, the median home price in West Virginia is $96,400 and $231,200 in the U.S, according to the real estate website Zillow. 

Berube, however, said she does not think the closure of the Chestnut Ridge facility will hurt local real estate values in the long run.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind, although a devastating blow for the 1,500 workers being laid off, if we factor in the above points and that not all who worked at Mylan live in our immediate area,” she said.

“Will there be a noticeable difference in inventory and activity? Yes.”

But because the local inventory for residential homes is typically low, she said this may end up benefiting the market.

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