Housing Construction At An All Time High

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

The Permian Basin Homebuilders Association says so many oil workers are moving in, they're running out of places to put them.
The Association reports Midland, Odessa, Andrews, Stanton, and Big Spring are seeing the most growth. 

And you don't have to drive far, to see all the new homes going up.

"Business is absolutely crazy," Brad Ward with Cashway Lumber, said. "Lots of housing going on, lots of new housing."

Nationwide, the Commerce Department reports the housing market has dropped to its lowest level in more than 17 years, but that's just not true here in West Texas.

"The last couple of years has become busier and busier," Ward said. "We go from having 4-5 housing starts a week to 20 housing starts a week. The houses are getting bigger, the cost of building houses has gone through the roof. Sub-contractors have gone up. Contractors in turn have had to go up. Land has gone up, pretty much every part of building has gone up due to us having a boom here."

Cashway Lumber in Odessa says they can't get the materials to the contractors fast enough.

"It's getting harder and harder to find houses," Ward said. "It's getting harder and harder to find someone who has the time, because they're all getting backed up."

And if you're hoping to build a new house in the next year, you better sign up now.

"If you want to do a custom house, you're probably looking at 6 months to a year before they could even get to you," Ward said.

The Permian Basin Homebuilders Association with 220 contractors has grown by 50 members in just the past year. That's a big number, considering they only started ten years ago.

"The Permian Basin as a whole, the labor market is somewhat limited right now," Scott Payne with the Permian Basin Homebuilders Association, said. "So you're having the oil companies, they're very demanding right now. What they're paying is substantially higher than what a lot of our subcontractors can afford to pay."

But the biggest need is for affordable housing in the $80,000 price range.

"There's a serious demand for that type of product," Payne said. "I mean, there seems to be a decent supply of $200,000 plus, but there's still a good demand for that product too."

They say the price for building a home has gone up due to the cost of materials.

"Here in Midland, Odessa, the surrounding areas, the cost of housing has gone up mainly due to labor and supplies," Payne said. "It's stayed tied directly to that, so you're not going to see the drop in prices that we've seen in Florida and California, so I think it will stay strong here." "The cost of housing has gone up, it's a battle right now."

On Wednesday morning, Pecos leaders will break ground on a new neighborhood.

It's the first one to be built in twenty years. 

NewsWest 9 spoke with Mayor Alligood of Pecos on Monday morning and he says it's the first of many more to come.