Oklahoma City metro area sees increase in new homes for the holidays
It's all systems go for builders and Realtors, although the “fiscal cliff” and rising costs for construction materials are casting shadows over the housing market.
Up on the housetop — ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching.
Homebuilders and Realtors came dashing into the holidays in November, blitzing toward the end of the year with construction and sales stats that have some of them prancing, if not dancing.
Not that there is nothing to worry about: Rising costs for building materials and labor are concerns, especially as housing in the rest of the country chokes down the recession's last dregs and gets ready to grow again.
Drywall is up 14 percent from a year ago and suppliers have warned prices could rise another 30 percent next year, according to trade reports. Lumber prices are at a six-year high on renewed demand.
“We've seen appliances, for goodness sakes, take increases, as well,” said Kurt Dinnes, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association and co-owner of Sun Custom Homes.
Plus there's this “fiscal cliff” business and the shadow it casts over downright rosy home sales and construction here — and across the country as Congress and the White House avoid agreement on how to deal with the nation's budget deficit.
The specter of income tax increases and government spending cuts taking effect at the first of the year — in three days — leaves builders, like everyone else, with a big unknown as they try to look ahead, Dinnes said.
In the meantime, it's like 2007 again for housing in Oklahoma City — only this time the numbers are on their way up. Comparable numbers five years ago reflected a slump, which is as close as the City got to the national housing bust.
Builders in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman started 4,320 houses through November, up 32.1 percent from the same period in 2011, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. They've already outdone 2011: Permits issued through November surpassed the number issued in all of last year.