TODAY'S QUESTION: Will IBM help or hurt Columbia's housing market?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | 11:26 a.m. CDT; updated 11:42 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 4, 2010

Last week, a Missourian reporter ventured to Dubuque, Iowa, the site of IBM's most recently opened service delivery center. IBM will be opening a similar center in Columbia later this year.

According to a Missourian article from the trip, IBM employees brought in to Dubuque from other locations to staff the center flooded the town's rental housing market. Because of the influx of people seeking rental housing and the insufficient number of rental properties in Dubuque, some IBM employees have taken up residence in hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and even a residence home for seniors. Dubuque City Manager Mike Milligen said IBM's entrance into the city decreased the rental housing vacancy rate from about 11 percent to about 2 percent.

Mike Brooks, the president of Regional Economic Development, Inc., said Columbia seems better prepared to handle the influx of renters than Dubuque was. An August survey done on the Columbia housing market found about 370 vacant rental apartments and nearly 950 available single-family homes.

Will IBM create a flood of renters in Columbia? Will current renters suffer from a saturated rental housing market?


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