I live in a smallish town (~22,000) where two international companies (both of which have historic ties to the town as their headquarters, but now have headquarters elsewhere) are the clear major employers, bot employers focusing on white-collar workers (indirectly hiring blue-collar with facility staff).
I don't have an exact number of employees in my town, but to give you a perspective: the company I work for's main location is obviously corporate HQ (located in another state). Their second largest (by employee count) location is here. Globally my employer has over 15,000 employees. The other company in question is very similar in these regards.
Well before I joined one of the two companies and moved to the town there's been rumors aplenty that both companies would pull out and move their people out of the town and to their own corporate headquarters.
I'm not an economic expert but my uneducated guess is that the local economy would basically collapse if both companies left the town. I assume the effect on white-collar-expense housing would see an even more dramatic fallout as a vast, vast majority of white-collar workers would no longer be in the town.
However the rumors are just that; rumors, with nothing official to go off of. Some of the rumors make sense, but they're watercooler talk and I can give no honest estimate of how likely they are.
I'm currently renting, but I'm now 27 (debt free) and having rented for nearly the past 4 years I have started to want to purchase a house. This is obviously a concerning prospect with the rumors as they are.
Is there any advise or best practices to go off of, from this? Should I reduce my housing budget since it has greater possible risk? Is there any guidelines/rules of thumb for such a situation? If my employer does announce that they're moving (likely announcing it several years in advanced) I imagine the simple announcement will collapse the housing market here, and I won't be able to resell the house anywhere close to its purchase price.