2,000 more ExxonMobil employees could impact Woodlands housing market

Woodlands area market analysts believe the recent announcement that ExxonMobil will bring an additional 2,000 jobs from its offices in Virginia and Ohio to its new campus under construction near I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road will have an impact on the community's housing market.

Some area market leaders, such as Gil Staley, president of the South Montgomery County Economic Development Partnership, and Rob Banzhaf, managing principal at Bandier Realty Partners, said they believed the initial 8,000 employees that ExxonMobil announced would be relocating from other Houston offices would not have a great impact on the housing market.

Now that number has grown to 10,000 jobs, a number which they believe changes things.

"When I heard the 2,000 jobs were relocating, well that's a different story [than just the 8,000 initial jobs]," Staley said. "I suspect that will impact the residential market."

"We anticipated that the Houston offices relocating wouldn't have as big of an affect as new people moving in to the Houston area," Banzhaf said. "But now with people moving in [those ExxonMobil employees] will certainly be looking at The Woodlands and Springwoods Village."

The additional 2,000 employees will relocate from offices in Fairfax, Va., and Akron, Ohio. The offices affected are ExxonMobil's Refining and Supply Company, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants and Specialties Marketing Company, which are located in Fairfax.

The ExxonMobil Chemical Company in Akron is also making the move. In addition, some positions from the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and Chemical Company which are now located in Baytown will relocate to the new campus.

Banzhaf said with such a wide range of employee levels at ExxonMobil, different villages in The Woodlands and different facets of the housing market will likely see an impact.

"Creekside Village is a natural fit because of its location and proximity to the campus," Banzhaf said. "I think the affect is going to be spread out because there is such a wide variety of employment levels."

Banzhaf said some homes in Carlton Woods have already been sold to senior executives with ExxonMobil.

But with 2,000 workers soon to descend on The Woodlands, in addition to the normal growth the community experiences, supply in the housing market could become an issue.

"I'm hearing the market is doing so superb that inventory is in short supply," Staley said. "The vacancy rate is like that of commercial, somewhere around 3 percent, which is astonishing to me."


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