Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Residential Construction on Rebound

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Residential Construction on Rebound

Article excerpt

he general consensus of home builders in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area is that residential construction is on the rebound.

"Some of the impressive facts that we are realizing is we are seeing increases in construction all over the city rather than just Edmond, which I think is a good economic indicator of everything in general," said Bryan Kim Turner, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

"I am somewhat interested to see what is going to happen with (the) election year . . . We think that what we are seeing right now will continue. There won't be too much movement after the election."

There has been a larger inventory of available homes created, and there has been a larger movement of the sale of new homes in the last four or five months, he said.

"What I believe the market bears is a confidence level higher than two years ago," said James Meyer, vice president of Heartland Homes Ltd. of Oklahoma City. "People are more confident about buying a home. The interest rates add fuel to that fire. We are probably 70 to 80 percent ahead of our yearly projections. We will probably build over 200 homes this year."

General cost increases are going up at a rapid rate, Turner said. Lumber costs have gone up about 30 percent since the first of the year.

"The problem is, it is not controlled by the local economy. It is a national trend. We have really little control over it.

"We are going to see a slower but generally higher increase in (the price of) homes. The lumber price increase is the most dramatic. Also, market correction has been subsidized and off of its balance for about a decade. It is not a switch in the market where it will go back down again. It will stay up," Turner said.

Because sale prices are generally placed on the appraisal or value, prices on homes cannot go up as quickly as the lumber and other prices are. It could take three or four months to a year to correct and bring home sale prices up to where they should be, he said.

"A lot of people want to say that Oklahoma City is dead, but there are still companies moving here and relocating people in this area," said Merlin Compton, president of Merlin Compton Construction Co. Inc. in Oklahoma City.

"Obviously, we want to say that it's interest rates that are stimulating the market, but really there is just a pent up demand for housing in northwest Oklahoma City. The repo (repossession) market is gone. That's behind us now.

"I can't be anything but optimistic while we look ahead. The market always has its cycle. We are looking at a several year upswing. One thing that is going to happen, we're going to see the cost of housing go up, and I think a lot of people who have been waiting to invest in the market at the right time have been left in the dirt."

Meyer considers the hot spots in central Oklahoma to be Norman and Edmond, but Heartland Homes has had success in the Yukon market.

"Yukon has been a very big surprise for us. We are building an affordable home for the marketplace. They are attractive designs at an attractive price. My feeling is it will become another Norman or Edmond. It should have sprung up a few years ago," he said.

Northwest Oklahoma City is also very strong and steady, and Deer Creek schools are getting a strong reputation, he said. Quite a few homes are being sold in the Deer Creek and Putnam City school districts. People are going for a more subdued school system outside Oklahoma City. They are also interested in a smaller student-toacher ratio.

"Young families that are looking for a particular type of school system for their young children and people moving up and out of a starter house are the ones looking. …

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