It's trite but true when it comes to Oklahoma City's national perception as a place for serious, big-league and institutional real estate investment: always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
But what a lame way to put it. So, hey, since apparently nothing short of the coastal markets sliding off into the oceans will get us out of tertiary purgatory, let's come up with some better ways — some Oklahoma ways — to say it.
How 'bout: Oklahoma City: Always the bull, never the bull's-eye.
Or how bout: Ten feet tall, but never bulletproof.
One more: Always well, never top shelf.
No, no none of those fits. Oklahoma City is not much off the mark, no market is bulletproof, and we're better than a well drink.
Besides that, never say never to Chris Dunning or T.K. Klein. Dunning and Klein are running CBRE Group Inc.'s new Oklahoma City office of CB Richard Ellis Capital Markets Debt & Equity Finance Group. They're hitting the streets looking to provide financial services — and outside and institutional capital — for investors in office, industrial, retail and multifamily properties. That's pretty big.
Oklahoma City is definitely not stagnant and it is far from hopeless. We are the envy of the country in some ways — jobs, housing, growth and relative economic stability, among other economic traits and qualities of life.
We've come a long way, baby, in a pretty short time. So here's my suggestion — born just slightly of a Friday afternoon fever (does everybody have the crud?):
Oklahoma City: Hand-tossed and self-rising.
Yep, a frozen pizza metaphor is the best I can come up with after reading — again — the scant attention paid the city in the annual “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute:
Whatever advances we make from here on out, it will be by our own hand (which includes ability to entice outside investment). We are, indeed, self-rising.
The annual survey of movers and shakers in commercial real estate development, brokerage and finance ranked Oklahoma City No. 36 of 51 “markets to watch” (up one spot) for investment prospects, No. 31 for development prospects (up one) and No. 30 for homebuilding prospects (up three spots).
Minimal price movements in housing got noticed. But Oklahoma City's recession-long relative stability in home prices got no mention — and probably has gone virtually unnoticed nationally because of the late wailing and gnashing of teeth that got so much media attention in the rest of the country.
“Oklahoma City home prices remain stable” in any other market but Oklahoma City is about as notable or newsworthy as “House doesn't burn” or “Store not robbed.” Besides, with only one big, national publicly traded homebuilder here — D.R. Horton Inc., based in Fort Worth — frankly, there's not much reason for Oklahoma City housing to be on anybody else's radar.
Now, here's our story in “Emerging Trends in Real Estate”:
“‘We will see a push in one tertiary market — Oklahoma City,' and ‘we are seeing many companies moving from the West Coast to Oklahoma.' As an energy industry leader location, Oklahoma City (No. 32, overall) moved up four spots in the investment prospect ranks.”
Not bad, actually, for a 10-foot-tall bridesmaid with a good aim, tolerance for a little bull, a liking for well drinks — and a hand-tossed, self-rising push on in real estate investment. (You're welcome for the extra cheese).