Cold weather chilled homebuilding in January, but heated construction in tornado-ravaged Moore kept metro-area averages firm.
Builders, looking ahead, took permits to start 410 houses in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
Compared to January 2013, permits issued were down 2.8 percent in Oklahoma City, down 17.7 percent in Edmond, and down 32.6 percent in Norman.
The small numbers, as usual, made for drastic-sounding statistics:
Midwest City’s drop from 4 permits in January last year to 3 percent in January this year was a 25-percent decline, for example.
Even in Moore, where rebuilding from the May 20 tornado continues, the increase from 18 permits in January 2013 to 49 permits in January 2014 amounted to a seemingly booming increase of 172 percent.
Construction itself slowed with freezing weather, said Steve Allen, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
“The weather has not been a good friend to us this winter. It limits our ability to work,” said Allen, president and CEO of AllenStyle Homes and Allenton Custom Homes in Bethany.
He said to pour a concrete foundation, for example, requires 72 hours of temperatures above freezing; a cold snap resets the three-day clock.
Exterior painting requires temperatures above 50, he said, and roofing shingles can be damaged while installing if the weather is too cold, so roofing often stops during a cold snap. Landscaping and sod cutting for lawns stops at freezing, as well, he said.