THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- The housing market in The Woodlands is so hot right now that homes are selling sometimes within just a few hours of being put up for sale.

Jenny Overstreet found that out when she put her Alden Bridge subdivision home on the market for $345,000.

We knew it would sell quickly, we just didn't realize how quickly it would sell, Overstreet said. The house sold that same day.

Realtors said The Woodlands is one of the hottest markets in the Houston area, if not the hottest market of them all.

Realtor Arlene English of Martha Turner Properties said the boom started more than a year ago with the migration of employees for the new Exxon world headquarters just south of The Woodlands.

That development will eventually include thousands of new homes but realtors are already fielding multiple offers in a single day on existing homes.

It was $205,000, English said about a recent home sale. It sold in the first couple of hours.

The buying binge has also spread to the neighboring communities of Spring, Magnolia, Montgomery, and Conroe where dozens of new subdivisions are under construction.

English said demand for existing homes is so great that prospective buyers seem to be getting wind of homes that are about to go on sale.

So people are knocking on doors wanting to buy the homes before the sign is even put in the yard. It's a little crazy right now, English said.

Martha Turner Properties Realtor Associate Kelly McDonald said demand is so high that out-of-town buyers are often asking her to take them on virtual tours via Skype or FaceTime so they can consider buying a home they haven t yet seen in person.

I Skyped it, they wrote a contract that day and came in the next week, McDonald said about a recent sale. I've even taken my iPad with us, and we write a contract in the house and sent it off to the other realtor. That's how fast things are moving.

Realtors said homes in the $200,000 to $400,000 range are selling the fastest. A normal market would have about six months of inventory available.

Martha Turner realtors said there is less than one month of inventory available in The Woodlands in the $200,000 to $400,000 range. McDonald said homes above $1 million are selling faster than normal too.

The Spring area, south of The Woodlands, is showing some of the most obvious explosive growth. Spring Stuebner Road from Kuykendahl to I-45 along the south edge of the Exxon property is being widened from a two-lane country road blacktop to a five-lane cement thoroughfare.

Preliminary construction is beginning on the next phase of the Grand Parkway which will connect Highway 290 to I-45 and run along the south edge of the Exxon campus.

Within a two-mile stretch of Spring Stuebner, extending north on Gosling Road, four different brand new housing developments are under construction.

I think you need to be very patient, Overstreet said.

Realtors suggest that need for patience will last at least for few more years. They predict The Woodlands buying boom won t peak until 2017.

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