State Real Estate Industry Just Beginning to Feel Impact of Oil Prices, Says Patton

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The real estate industry in Oklahoma is just beginning to feel the affects of deflated oil prices and will continue to be affected for some time, according to Raymond Patton, administratorof the Oklahoma Department of Securities.

Patton spoke to members of the Real Estate Securities and Syndication Institute at a noon luncheon last week about the securities department and the current federal and state laws which regulate securities.

"What I mean is, real estate follows the oil and gas industry, and the increasing number of office vacancies is being caused in large part by oil and gas companies going out of business," he said.

Patton said indicators point to about a two-year period before the situation might be reversed.

"I feel we'll see some positive changes starting in the last quarter of this year and continuing into next year, and hopefully in two years things will have improved somewhat," he said.

Patton said real estate made up only a small portion of the nearly $2 billion in registered securities in the state of Oklahoma documented by the securities department in 1985. The majority of the securities, approximately $120 million, were in oil and gas.

Securities fraud is a major problem presently facing the department, and more and more cases are cropping up involving fraud among real estate companies, such as Pepco of Norman, he said. Procedures such as the "ponsy" operation, where individuals in a partnership that is going broke will steal money from another partnership to keep the first partnership going, have become more common.

The case load facing the securities department is so heavy, Patton said, that the staff can only concentrate on current cases and those cases in which the amount of fraud is outstanding.

"We have a staff of five lawyers, and right now each of them are working on 60 active cases," Patton said. "There are some instances of fraud that have happened so far back that there's no way we can get to the people who committed it. We are just committed to handling the current, continuing cases and the outstanding cases, such as Pepco." .

- Abide Inc. Realtors, a local real estate company which has 13 offices in the metropolitan area, has been placed in the top 10 percent of all real estate firms in the U.S. based on service to its clients.

The honor, awarded by National Statistical Research Co. of Chicago, is based on a computer analysis of hundreds of thousands of questionnaires sent to individuals who have recently bought a home, which asked for an evaluation of the service they received from the real estate firm which handled their transaction.

Abide scored well above the national average compared to more than 8,500 real estate companies across the country included in the survey. …

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