Home sales hot to the end of the year cooled in January — not unusual for the dead of winter — but the new year still started ahead of 2012 with a warming trend for housing in the Oklahoma City area.
Realtors handled 1,155 sales in January, down 16.2 percent from December but up 12 percent compared with January 2012, according to the Metro Association of Realtors.
Homes listed with Realtors on average sold in 81 days, 10 days faster than a year ago but six days longer than the month before, the association reported, even with loan rates slightly lower than in December.
The average interest rate paid for a 30-year home loan was 3.51 percent here in January — compared with 3.56 percent in December and 4.17 percent in January 2012, according to the Realtors.
Shrinking inventory — even with builders in full recovery — is the biggest trend here now, said Keith Taggart, president of the Realtors group and managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select's office in Mustang.
January ended with 6,621 houses for sale on the association's Multiple Listing Service, 46 fewer than in December and 740 fewer than a year ago, a drop of 10 percent.
“Listings are still low. That's a problem we're having. We're having a listing contest in our office,” he said.
Despite the dip in sales at the first of the year, Taggart said the office he manages hasn't seen any slowdown.
“It's the best January we've had in five years in our office,” Taggart said.
Generally, Taggart said, “I don't know exactly what's happened. The floodgates have opened. What I think has been happening is (after) a lot of the economic disasters we've come through, things sort of settled down and there was pent-up demand. We have a lot of people that have been waiting.”
As for home construction, Mustang developer Robert Crout said much the same thing.
“Demand is as good as I've seen it in maybe ever,” said Crout, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. “It's almost like there was this pent-up demand and the dam broke. And why not? Interest rates are unbelievably low right now and materials are going up.”