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Homebuilders in Oklahoma City welcome revived market

The December push for building permits in Oklahoma City and Norman solidified 2011 as the second clear year of recovery from the bottomed-out metro-area market in 2009.
BY RICHARD MIZE Published: January 28, 2012

Home building here ended 2011 lots better.

Construction-ready lots banked by cautious developers — probably at the insistence of wary lenders — came onto the market in the fourth quarter, meeting builders anxious to build and buyers looking to buy, builders said.

That — and fair weather in December — helped lift construction, which for most of the year was flat compared with 2010.

Builders in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman took out permits to build 3,579 single-family houses in 2011, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2010.

A broader survey by the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association showed that 4,079 permits were issued, an increase of 5.7 percent. That survey also includes a dozen other municipalities plus Oklahoma County, four of them with significant increases in 2011:

• Piedmont, where a tornado leveled neighborhoods last May, issued 87 permits, up from 36 in 2010.

• Blanchard doubled the number of permits issued to 40.

• Newcastle issued 98 permits, up from 64.

• Nichols Hills issued 13 permits for new homes, compared with just one permit the year before.

It was the December push in Oklahoma City and Norman that solidified 2011 as the second clear year of recovery from the 2009 bottom.

Builders' plans have been tempered by the relative lack of construction-ready lots, said Jim Schuff, co-owner of Vesta Homes in Moore and 2011 president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

“Developers used to go out and develop real big sections at a time. They're self-regulating,” Schuff said.

“Builders and developers have been what I'd call cautiously smart. Builders didn't want to overbuild and developers didn't want to overdevelop.”

However, land developers — both residential and commercial — indicated renewed confidence in the local economy last year by almost tripling the number of parcels registered for planned development with the Oklahoma County Assessor's Office.

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