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A rare cloud drifts over Oklahoma City property markets

Despite positives to let, national investment players see reasons to doubt Oklahoma City as a place to buy real estate in PwC-Urban Land Institute report.
by Richard Mize Modified: May 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: May 17, 2014

It might seem odd that PwC picked now to open an office in Oklahoma City when its own highly regarded real estate market report found reason to ratchet down the city’s potential for attracting outside investment.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014,” in fact, stepped Oklahoma City down 11 spots, to No. 43, in its Markets to Watch list. “Emerging Trends” is a joint annual publication by PwC, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Urban Land Institute.

It is widely read for its outlook on real estate investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, property sectors, metro areas and other real estate issues throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

The report is based on surveys and interviews with more than 1,000 specialists — investors, fund managers, developers, property companies, lenders, brokers, advisers, and consultants. And Oklahoma City dropped in their estimation from late 2012 to late last year, when the current “Emerging Trends” was compiled.

Yet PwC itself, citing demand from energy services, industrial products, health care and other clients, just opened an office downtown at Leadership Square. PwC said it was seeing growth in its accounting assurance services, as well as increased demand for advisory and tax services.

So, what gives? Is we is, or is we ain’t, on a roll?

Well, as it says in the front of “Emerging Trends,” “The views expressed herein, including all comments appearing in quotes, are obtained exclusively from these surveys and interviews and do not express the opinions of either PwC or ULI.”

Clearly. PwC was looking to do business in Oklahoma City, as opposed to investing in Oklahoma City. Here’s how PwC summarized investment capital’s take:

“Oklahoma City (43). In this year’s survey, Oklahoma City dropped 11 spots to number 43. The 2014 survey respondents have a less favorable outlook for Oklahoma’s largest city. The outlook for investment and development is down in this year’s survey, but remains in the ‘fair’ range. The outlook for home building did rise, but the increase was not enough to keep pace with other markets.”

That last part is a head-scratcher. If the outlook for home building here didn’t rise as fast as in other markets, it’s because housing recovery here had a shallower hole from which to emerge.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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