Housing Needs In the Permian Basin Are Spurring Land Sales In Midland And Odessa

By Mitch Borden

Small land sales in Texas are up for the sixth year in a row. That’s according to a new report from the Texas Realtors Association. Those sales rose by about 6 percent last year, driven by the sales of properties affected by Hurricane Harvey — and increased development in West Texas oil fields.

Houses can’t be built fast enough in Midland and Odessa as the two cities populations continue to rise. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

The Midland-Odessa region saw an increase in sales in 2018 because of the region’s housing needs, said Cindi Bulla with the Texas Realtors Association.

“There’s just not room for all of the labor that’s been hired for that area,” said Bulla.

Since the Permian Basin is surrounded by large swaths of privately owned land, the region has a limited supply of space that can be developed for permanent housing. So, whatever comes up for sale is snatched up by developers.

“Even those things that aren’t being marketed [are pursued,]” said Bulla. “We have developers searching out, you know knocking on doors, just trying  to have more land to sell.”

Oil companies are beginning to sell land to developers though, which Bulla said is an emerging trend. She believes that is due to companies seeing the need for more stable worker housing in the Permian Basin and oil companies now have the technology to drill underneath homes without requiring their surface rights.

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