When Richard Powell and his family moved to the area 5 months ago, Powell considered buying a home, but he and his wife opted to rent for awhile.
He’s glad they did.
Waiting afforded them the opportunity to find out they could be paying tolls daily, depending on where they bought. With the time to purchase here, Powell added “No tolls” to his list of “must haves.”
“Working at the base on this side of Portsmouth, it was pretty much a deal breaker, trying to look for homes on that side of the tunnel,” said Powell who is in the United States Coast Guard. “Basically, we completely eliminated Norfolk as an area that we were looking in and Virginia Beach, and we’re pretty much limiting our search to Portsmouth and Suffolk.”
Powell is not alone in his thinking. Several people factored or are factoring tolls at the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels into their decision of where to purchase or rent a home.
“I’ve had a couple of clients who just adamantly did not want to go into Norfolk if they had to work in Portsmouth,” shared realtor Nikki Reed. “One was a shipyard worker. She says, ‘I’m not going. I’m not going over the water.’ I said, ‘There’s some great deals over there.’ Nope. She refuses to go.”
Christy Mahon, Reed’s partner, has heard the same sentiment on the rental end of the real estate business.
“Their pocketbooks aren’t as deep, so they’re the ones that are gonna be affected,” explained Mahon. “They feel constricted. They don’t want to have to pay that money to go to work. I mean, you’re already paying an exorbitant amount for gasoline, and it just adds to it.”
Reed told 13News Now shifts in how people are searching for homes could pay off for some spots, including Western Branch and Churchland.
“It may be a good thing for Portsmouth. It may increase the tax base, in that regard, and, then, maybe, we’ll see some resurgence in other neighborhoods, parts of Chesapeake that maybe needed a bit of revitalization,” Reed said.
“Over time, when the new tunnel is in place, who knows? When traffic patterns change, and it becomes a little bit more viable to go from one side to the other, maybe the money won’t matter as much,” Reed noted. “Time will tell, but for right now, a lot of angry people.”