Homebuilder

With Western Texas Intermediate oil hovering around $45 a barrel, folks have been speculating about new home construction in Midland-Odessa and how layoffs and budget cuts might affect the spectacular boom of the past few years.

But while economists might raise a red flag, local homebuilders say pent-up demand and a more diversified economy are keeping the phones ringing and people signing on for new home construction.

“The demand is still the same as it has always been—everyone wants their home built yesterday,” said KC White, owner and president of KC White Homes, Inc. “More people outside of the oil world are calling my phone. There are more than just oilfield-related jobs here.”

Last year, 917 single-family building permits were issued to homebuilders for new residences in Midland, and 430 in Odessa, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. With the ink still wet on those contracts, builders don’t see a slowdown anytime soon. Many even have a waiting list.

Single family construction permits

Tight inventory is one of the biggest factors at play. With only 3.8 months of inventory in November 2014 (the most recent data available), the average home price in Midland was $301,500. Odessa had an even tighter market in that same month, with only 2.4 months inventory, and an average home price of $231,100. Jump to read more!

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Photo courtesy Charleston's TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

DFW rents were 6.2 higher last year, averaging $919 per month, but demand still soared, with North Texas leading the nation in apartment rentals, and vacancies at a 13-year low, according to new real estate research from Zillow and MPF Research.

The increased rent translated to an extra $600 million paid to landlords last year, Zillow reported. For North Texans, that meant a median increase of $35 a month, higher than the nationwide rate of $26.

Rising rents are nothing new, said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” he said. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”

For 2015, expect more of the same.

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New home sales are up 18 percent for the month, according to Department of Commerce stats.

New home sales are up 18 percent for the month, according to Department of Commerce stats.

We like to check in with agents to see what the market looks like from their corner of the real estate world. So when we heard that, after a long period of stagnancy, new home sales were on an upward trajectory, we had to get some local perspective.

The report from the Department of Commerce this week showed new-home sales up by 18 percent last month. That’s the most growth new home sales have had since May 2008! Locally, that could be due to a variety of factors, one of which is the high demand in the existing home market.

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