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Abilene housing market, hotel industry may soon see economic impact from oil boom

By Michelle Frizalone, mfrizalone@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:44:18 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 11 2013 08:11:29 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Will Abilene's housing market see an impact from the oil boom just to our west?

Many people may travel to Abilene to rent homes or stay in hotels, as options are limited in other areas.

Finding a rental sign on property in Abilene may be a little more difficult in the future.

"We're not seeing a huge impact yet, but, it is coming. Things have already picked up in the Sweetwater area," Owner/Real Estate Broker Mike Powell with Gerard Real Estate said. "We do have a few people that are commuting to those areas as well."

Oil workers to the west are looking for homes to rent or buy.

Belinda Moore, an Abilene realtor who's from Sweetwater, said workers will eventually have to come to Abilene.

"I can see them definitely having a housing shortage over the next few months," Moore said. "When I think of oil, I always think Midland/Odessa area, never Sweetwater or the Big Country area. So this is kind of a surprise to me."

Moore even sold her personal home in Sweetwater to oil field workers.

"We recently moved to Abilene in July and sold our personal home," Moore said. "We did sell it to a couple that commute back-and-forth from the Midland/Odessa area that work in the oil field."

Hotels in Abilene like the Hilton Garden Inn also see the impact.

"Extended stay projects that are happening in Snyder are affecting us here because what they are saying to me is they can't find any places to stay out their," General Manager Lynne Haven at Hilton Garden Inn said.

Mayor Norm Archibald is optimistic about what can happen to the Abilene economy after talking to the Midland Mayor.

"I can't help but believe that Abilene will play a role in that on the eastern side of the Cline Shale the rest of it goes back toward the Midland/Odessa area," Archibald said. "So we'll wait and see, but it looks promising for 2013."