Housing — the markets for both single-family homes and apartments — will feel Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s job cuts.
But the residential market as a whole probably won't be rocked because the rest of the Oklahoma City economy is still sound, housing leaders said Tuesday.
Even so, the estimated 640 high-income jobs lost in one fell swoop, “that's an attention getter,” said Robert Crout, a developer in Mustang and president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
Builders could “step back and take a look and re-evaluate (their) plans,” Crout said. “On the other hand, I just heard a third-quarter economic outlook from a national housing expert (with) the National Association of Home Builders saying that the Oklahoma market is now back to normal and that within two years, they expect it to be 130 to 140 percent of normal.”
Realtors should brace for spooked would-be buyers, said Keith Taggart, president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The effect on demand should be minimal, but the jolt still could affect “the psyche of buyers,” said Taggart, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select's office in Mustang.
After talking with others in the Realtors association leadership Tuesday afternoon, he said. “We feel it's probably not going to have much of an immediate effect. It still takes a long time before it has a real adverse effect on the market.”
Crout and Taggart both said they were confident that other companies could absorb most of the cut employees.
“It makes you feel bad for the people who are losing their jobs. It's nice that the industry in this area can absorb some of them,” Crout said.
Taggart pointed to the range of strong business and industry in Oklahoma City.
“We have lots of different industries in Oklahoma City,” he said.
Apartment owners and managers — especially of newer, upscale properties that have gone up not far from the Chesapeake campus at NW 63 and Western Avenue — could feel early effects in the form of missed rent payments, said Mike Buhl of Commercial Realty Resources Co., which tracks apartments. Leases seldom have opt-out clauses for job loss, he said
Many Chesapeake employees — and now ex-employees — “are that young demographic” of renters, he said.
“Have you ever driven by the Chesapeake campus during lunch hours and break time? You've got a lot of people playing basketball and roaming around. They're not guys (in their 50s). They're probably not homeowners. They're probably renters, and probably renters of upscale, high-income properties,” Buhl said.