Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Resurgence Seen in Residential Buidling

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Resurgence Seen in Residential Buidling

Article excerpt

The term "overbuilt" isn't getting nearly as much use in Oklahoma as it did a few years ago, and that's a good sign for home builders.

A resurgence in residential construction is occurring in several areas around the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and in other parts of the state.

"It's pretty easy to pinpoint the pockets of development," said Leo Cravens, executive vice president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. "The most active area in Oklahoma is in Edmond - also Tulsa and Norman."

Building permit totals from the City of Oklahoma City show that people are building new homes at a good clip in the north and northwest parts of the city, and south of Int. Hwy. 240.

Cravens said Edmond and Norman are experiencing a 10 percent increase in residential building activity in 1990 over 1989, and momentum is developing in Yukon and Midwest City.

"We're beginning to come out of the shadows of the bank foreclosures," said Michael McClure, president of McSHA Homes Inc. and president of the Norman Builders Association. "Norman is a slow, steady growth community. We've been riding the cycle up off the bottom for about the last year and a half. I have four houses under contract and three under construction. That's more than I've ever had."

McClure's family has been in the home construction business in the Norman area since the 1950s, and he said he has seen the city grow on a three-pronged track as university city, suburb and independent employment center.

Edmond also plays all three of those roles, but Mark Dale, president of Carriage Homes Inc. and president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, said Edmond's suburban location is the most important factor in its home construction market.

"There are two factions," Dale said. "Move-ins, which account for about 60 percent of the Edmond market, and move-ups, which we are beginning to see more of."

He said the "move-ins" are mostly the corporate professionals who are transferred to Oklahoma City, often from the East or West coast, who are "just delighted in what they find here, both in price and quality."

The "move-ups" are local residents moving to larger, nicer homes, because their families, or their incomes - or both - have grown, Dale said.

"Frankly, they've got the money to do it, even if they lose on the sale of their existing home," Dale said. "When the bust hit several years ago and real estate values dropped 20 or 30 percent, people said they wouldn't move. But time and reality have softened that attitude, I think."

Dale, who builds only custom homes, said a "personal hot spot" for him is Nichols Hills, where he has had customers purchase property, "scrape off" the house, and build a new one. He has two such projects going now, is aware of two more, and sees "a couple of whole streets that will lend themselves to this in the future."

Margaret Farmer, of the the City of Oklahoma City's department of management information systems, reported the "hottest spot" in the city is between Pennsylvania and Western Aves. …

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