The University of Texas at San Antonio recently released a Strategic Housing Analysis studying the need for sustainable housing development to accommodate the anticipated influx in population resulting from activity in the Eagle Ford shale.
The study, undertaken by the Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research, aimed to develop a housing strategy and determine necessary resources for the Eagle Ford workforce for the next decade or more.
It recommends a flexible approach to housing, keeping in mind changes that may occur once the shale boom is finished and making sure infrastructure can remain useful beyond the boom.
Affordability and proximity to work sites are important factors to take into account, especially with rental properties.
The study also warns about property owners exploiting the forecasted demand and raising rents to make a quick buck.
Hotels may not be the best choice, as they are not only non-sustainable, but also hamper their local communities since residents are exempt from taxes past their 30th day of stay.
Some proposals include a combination of detached single-family and attached multi-family units. Semi-permanent mobile homes should also be mixed in to accommodate a widely varied workforce.
Rentals in the Eagle Ford region will likely double the 2011 revenue of $1.5 million.
The UTSA study focused on six South Texan counties, including Dimmit, La Salle, Maverick, Zavala, Frio, and Webb. It estimates that if around 25,000 wells are drilled between 2012-2025, the region will see an influx of at least 2,200 permanent workers and perhaps 5,000 transients.
In general, the rapid entry of such large numbers of people into small counties places a lot of pressure on the local infrastructure. This report aims to lessen the burden.