By Jennifer M. Sims
Killeen Daily Herald
As Fort Hood prepares to increase its troop strength by 5,000, local leaders with their hands on the pulse of the rental and real estate industries say the addition will be a boon to the market.
Overall, this is nothing but positive for Killeen, said Karen Doerbaum, co-owner of Lone Star Realty and Property Manage-ment in Killeen and president of the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors. Doerbaum oversees the real estate side of Lone Star Realty.
Under current plans, Fort Hood Family Housing will have 5,912 homes, ranging in size from two-bedroom to five-bedroom, by October 2006, according to department officials. Thats a nearly 1,000-unit increase from October 2001, and more homes could be built in response to news of the additional troops.
With on-post housing staying almost filled up and another approximate 4,000 families on the waiting list mostly families of enlisted soldiers off-post housing will likely shoulder much of the load when the incoming soldiers and their families arrive.
Information on single-soldier housing on Fort Hood was not available from Army officials.
Thats good news for the market, however, which has felt the impact of recent major deployments of troops, causing sales to decline a bit, Doerbaum said.
With the large inventory of homes available for sale in our area, one could consider this a buyers market, Doerbaum said.
The addition of 5,000 more soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, many of whom would be accompanied by families, would likely mean an influx of buyers to the real estate market, Doerbaum said, potentially increasing sales.
This would likely create more competition among buyers, resulting in a slight increase in prices, Doerbaum said welcome news for those with homes on the market.
Price increases would not be dramatic, however.
Its always going to be affordable, Doerbaum said of the areas housing market.
The area has more than enough homes to meet the needs of the incoming soldiers, Doerbaum said, adding that an ongoing new home construction boom continues to add homes to the inventory.
Realtors and builders are poised to meet the demands of the housing market, Doer-baum said.
For Copperas Cove builder and developer Dustin Dewald, the prospect of a new wave of home buyers is just additional good news to the areas current building boom. Dewald said low interest rates and the attractiveness of Copperas Cove as a family community have already put the market in a good position, citing a number of new and expanding developments.
Not all soldiers moving to the area are looking to buy a home, however, and many turn to the areas rental market.
Tim Doerbaum, also a co-owner of Lone Star Realty and Property Management and president of the Apartment Association of Central Texas, said the addition of the troops will also be reflected positively in the rental markets.
Speaking as president of the AACT, Doerbaum said smaller one- and two-bedroom apartments have experienced an occupancy rate in the mid-80s. These homes typically cater to small families with no children, who are more prone to leave during a deployment, Doerbaum said.
Bringing in more soldiers could lead to refilling those apartment communities that have seen a drop, Doerbaum said.
He noted that upper-end apartment communities have fared well despite the deployments.
As head of the property management division at Lone Star, Doerbaum also said three-bedroom rental homes have been renting with success throughout the deployments.
Jennifer Clampet contributed to this report.
Contact Jennifer M. Sims at email@example.com