Odessa home sales, prices shoot up

By By Paul Wedding, Odessa American, Texas

Every month, more and more people are coming to Odessa for work, meaning more and more people are looking for places to live.

This has shown demonstrably through the amount of Odessa homes that have been sold this year. Odessa realtors saw a 32.8 percent increase in closed sales for the second quarter of 2018, per a Texas Realtors report, which is 30 percent higher than the statewide increase in home sales for that quarter.

That increase stayed high for the month of August as well. A report from the Odessa Board of Realtors showed a 30.5 percent increase in closed sales over August 2017. OBR Executive Vice President Connie Coots attributed this growth to the ongoing oil boom.

“Of course, we’re just seeing the influx of people moving into the area and driving our home sales up,” Coots said.

And the increase in sales means an increase in prices. Odessa saw the median home price rise 11.7 percent to $200,000 compared to August 2017. There’s also an ongoing housing shortage in the city — active home listings are down by almost 50 percent from last year, and homes are lasting on average 11 days less on the market.

“It’s a catch-22,” Coots said. “We’re definitely in a housing shortage and the builders can’t keep up with the supply and demand, and that’s just driving the prices up, and we have a problem with the affordability.”

Renee Henderson Earls, Odessa Chamber of Commerce president, said the oil boom has been a contributor in regards to the housing shortage.

“The affordable housing issue is really a problem right now because these houses that are selling at a much higher rate than normal are extremely expensive, and it makes it very difficult for people to come to Odessa,” Earls said.

Earls added that Odessa may be attractive due to the wealth of opportunity for employment, but it may be difficult to live here for some due to the high cost of living.

“It’s a tough cycle, but I really don’t see that cycle slacking off either,” Earls said. “From all of the experts that we talked to, it’s only going to get worse.”

Coots said OBR isn’t foreseeing a drop in home sales any time soon either.

The City and the Odessa Development Corp. are trying to see how they can help this housing shortage. They recently awarded a reasonably priced workforce housing assessment contract to Houston-based Community Development Strategies. The company will perform a three-to-four month study on Odessa’s available land to present short-term and long-term solutions to help Odessa’s housing crisis.

A recent survey study conducted by the city showed more than 10,000 vacant lots in Odessa city limits. This study would aim to find why these lots are vacant, which are usable, and how they can fit into the city’s overall plan.

Coots said OBR would also be working on some grants and will be working with the city on the shortage. One issue, she said, is the cost of land and infrastructure is too high for some builders to come here.

“The biggest issue right now is affordability,” Coots said.

This article provided by NewsEdge.