Q: What will be the economic impact of rebuilding the homes lost?
A: The rebuilding process will give a boost to the economy. Contractors will be brought into the state to help with the demand for new housing, increasing spending in affected areas. Additionally, each new home built creates three jobs, and once the home is purchased, $58,000 in income is put back into the local economy. When a 20-year-old home is rebuilt, it is most likely constructed with upgrades in technology and materials, increasing the value of that home. Furthermore, if you factor in the replacement-value insurance and the lower interest rates on the new 15-year loan, it's possible for a $175,000 home bought in 2005 to end up being more like a $250,000 home with the same payment as before. We would expect tax revenues to go up accordingly.
Q: How has the rental market been affected by the recent storms?
A: According to Census population figures for 2000 to 2012, Oklahoma City is the 12th-fastest growing metro area with more than 1 million residents. Because of the population growth, the rental market has been incredibly strong in recent years. With so many displaced individuals and families looking for temporary housing, the rental market is stretched to the limit. We expect vacancies in and around the affected areas to be extremely low, and we anticipate rental rates will increase as the demand has increased.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER