Home starts are up — and not just because of rebuilding in Moore — and homebuyer interest is solid despite higher interest rates, builders said as they welcomed steady traffic this week to new houses in the Parade of Homes Fall Classic.
Builders have 116 individual homes and developers have seven additions featured this year in the fall home parade, which concludes this weekend: Cobblestone, Griffin Park, Savannah Estates and Pleasant Grove in the northwest Oklahoma City area; Golden Gate at Twin Bridges and Birnam Woods, in Edmond; and The Hill, in downtown Oklahoma City.
Homes are open free to the public from 1 to 7 p.m. through Sunday. For maps to the homes, go to ads.newsok.com/parade_of_homes/. Guidebooks, with photos, maps, descriptions and characteristics of the homes, are available at all metro Arvest Bank locations and Best Buy locations while supplies last.
Oklahoma City, Edmond, Moore, Midwest City and Norman together issued 4,169 single-family building permits through September, an increase of 19.7 percent compared with the first three quarters of 2012, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
Oklahoma City permits were up 14 percent, at 2,821, and Edmond's were up 15.8 percent, at 507.
Midwest City slipped 13 percent to 73, and Norman eked out a 1 percent gain at 317.
Rebuilding in Moore accounted for most of the 66 permits issued there in September, as well as the 126 issued in August and 110 in July. Even without the recovery, homebuilding in the metro area the first three quarters would be well ahead of this time last year.
Work in the rest of the area is not experiencing much negative effect from the rebuilding boom in Moore and south Oklahoma City, said Robert Crout, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
“I'm not hearing of shortages of materials. Labor is kind of tight. There are some delays,” he said.
Some builders are looking at shortages of developed lots in areas where they would prefer to build, said Crout, a developer in Mustang.
Lenders are not much more willing to extend credit to developers than they were during the depths of the Great Recession, younger developers don't have the capital now required to get a loan, and older developers are still leery about plunging back into the market, he said.
In addition, development costs — the expense of acquiring land, planning, engineering, doing dirt work and paying city fees — is up about 30 percent from four years ago, Crout said.
Lots are scarce for building homes in the $200,000-$220,000 range in the Edmond area, about entry-level for the market, said Jack Evans of TimberCraft Homes, chairman of the Parade of Homes.
In the meantime, he said, builders are still building and buyers are buying. Custom builders have signed contracts this week during the Parade of Homes, he said.
Evans said interest by would-be buyers is sustaining.