Odessa, Texas brings cowboys, football, low unemployment rate and affordable housing to young workers and families

By Housing Nonprofit

This west Texas energy, manufacturing and transportation hub offers good wages and affordable living, including free money incentives toward home ownership.

Close to the New Mexico border in the northwest corner of Texas, Odessa, with cowboy culture and a love of football, is a great place for young workers and families. Famous landmarks include replicas of England’s Stonehenge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and natural attractions like the sand dunes and the Odessa Meteor Crater.

The city’s population is 122,630 and it has a suburban feel. Seated halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso, Odessa is located in the Permian Basin, the nation’s No. 1 producer of oil and gas. Major oil and gas companies operate here, and jobs in energy, mining, construction, retail, healthcare, social assistance, education and hospitality dominate the labor market. Major employers include Bobby Cox Companies, Halliburton, Investment Corporation of America, Keane Group, Saulsbury Companies, Telvista and Weatherford.

Stonehenge replica in the campus of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas

In 2020, the Wall Street Journal ranked Odessa among cities under one million people with the hottest job markets. A low unemployment rate, high number of people who are working, and steady job, labor force and wage growth helped Odessa earn this rank.

It’s not just a vibrant job market that Odessa has to offer. You’ll also find plenty of ways to play. You won’t have to go far to reach golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, and basketball and volleyball courts. The Comanche Trail Park brings you close to wildlife, birds and beautiful trees. The Memorial Gardens offer a lit walking trail, lake, waterfall and fountain. There’s also a thriving arts and music scene.

The median home price in Odessa is $159,700, nearly $70,000 less than the national average, and the median household income is $63,829. Low cost of living is among the reasons Niche.com has given Odessa a 2022 “Best Places” ranking. It also earns mention among Niche.com’s analysis as being among the most diverse places to live in America and one of the best places for young professionals in America.

Greetings from Odessa, Texas, “Hub city of Odessa West Texas oil field” postcard from the Boston Public Library collection, originally issued between 1930 and 1945

A handful of programs can help make purchasing a home in Odessa more affordable. The City of Odessa offers down payment and closing cost assistance through its department of community development. The program provides down payment assistance up to $10,000 for the purchase of an existing home, or up to $20,000 for new construction. It also provides closing cost assistance of up to $3,500 for an existing home, and $4,500 for new construction.

The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) has two additional programs to help homebuyers. The Homes for Texas Heroes Loan Program is for teachers, firefighters and EMS personnel, police and correctional officers, and veterans. The Home Sweet Texas Home Loan Program is for low-to-moderate income home buyers. These programs offer 30-years fixed interest rate mortgages, along with down payment assistance between three-to-five percent of the loan amount. The down payment assistance does not need to be repaid, as its offered as either a grant or a 3-year deferred forgivable second lien.