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Relocated Exxon-Mobil Jobs Could Impact Woodlands Housing Market

One real estate researcher says while Texas has plenty of higher-end homes on the market, lower-end homes are harder to come by.

Exxon-Mobil shale drilling subsidiary XTO Energy is moving 1,600 jobs from Fort Worth to the parent company’s Spring campus, close to The Woodlands, over the next three years. It’s possible that the influx could cause a brief spike in housing prices in that area..

These will be white collar – and presumably well-paid – jobs, but the effect on the local real estate market will depend on just how well-paid.

Luis Torres with Texas A&M's Real Estate Center says across Texas, there is a shortage of lower-end houses for sale.

"If their income is a market towards more like a $250,000 dollar house, then that's going be the issue,” he says, “because that's where we have the low inventories right now, and you're gonna put pressure on the housing market."

Torres says if you're looking to buy a house in that range right now, you pretty much have to build one. A jump in demand for houses in that range can causes prices to spike.

But if these incoming workers and their families are looking for higher-end houses, they'll have plenty to choose from.

"The supply is there,” he says. “The market is there for those people to move here, and probably it can absorb that."

So why are there more expensive houses available than cheaper ones?

One reason: laid off oil industry workers fled those houses when the downturn hit. Another: Texas is in the midst of a construction labor shortage, so home builders just can't keep up with demand for lower-end houses.

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