by Kim Powell
ODESSA - For years, West Texas has been booming with job opportunities as the oil prices continued to skyrocket. Now, workers are being laid off and hiring freezes have been put in place, but it's also prompted a big question--how is it going to affect the housing market?
"The hope is that we will, with the slow down of production, catch up with the surplus of oil that's caused the price to fall and if we catch up to that soon enough, we may not actually see that much of a drop in housing," Wayne Dunson, the 2014 president of the Odessa Board of Realtors, said.
He says that may not be a bad thing, as it could bring in new buyers who couldn't afford the prices before. As a realtor, Dunson says he's busier than he's ever been this time of year and they haven't seen many changes in the market just yet.
"If we had a full on bust, say like we did with the last recession, there was a definite loss of value but that was because there were a lot of people that lost jobs, and it wasn't necessarily inventory as it was people had to just walk away from their homes because they couldn't pay their mortgage," Dunson explained.
With the construction of apartments, hotels, and RV parks, renters may also see a decrease in prices if the oil keeps going in this direction. However, when everything is relying on the supply and demand of oil, no one can predict what will happen.
"Fortunately for us, oil always takes off again and so it really didn't last long and we didn't suffer that bad the last time so hopefully we can pull out from this one pretty fast too," Dunson said.