Homebuilders last year had their busiest year since 2007, as construction expanded. That stands in contrast to six years ago when, even though more permits were issued, housing here was slumping amid a national housing bust.
Final figures from the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association show 4,684 building permits issued in 2012 in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman — a 31 percent increase compared with 2011 and the most since 2007.
Oklahoma City permits were up 33 percent, Edmond's were up 52 percent, Midwest City's were up 26 percent and Norman's were up 16 percent. Only Moore's were down — 4.4 percent — but builders said Moore didn't suffer the slowdown as much as the rest of the metro area and so had less to make up.
“We finished up with a strong December and ended the year with one of the best year-to-year increases in quite some time,” said Kurt Dinnes, co-owner of Sun Custom Homes and president of the association.
Buyers are back
Would-be homebuyers are back in the market after sitting out a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, including tightened post-crash and post-recession lending standards that have left many unable to take advantage of loan rates of a lifetime. The average interest paid for a mortgage here in December was just 3.52 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
“What has happened is there's been a pent-up demand,” said Mustang developer Robert Crout, who is 2013 president of the builders group. “The consumer has been confused,” he said, by economic doubt and political wrangling at the federal level. “Finally, they decided, ‘We have to have a place to live and we want to go forward with our building plans,'” Crout said.
Ideal Homes of Norman had its third best year ever in 2012, said Steve Shoemaker, director of marketing.
“The fourth quarter alone was the fourth-largest quarter in company history,” Shoemaker said. “The increase is nice, but the consistency is the most welcome attribute of the current market. All the things we track about the market seem healthy. We feel really good and well positioned right now.”
Overheard in Vegas