Home starts were down here in the first quarter and it could be because homebuilders were so busy.
That’s builder Steve Allen’s take on the numbers anyway, and he said that what other builders are telling him — and what they’re doing — backs it up.
This weekend, with summer weather forecast for the first time this year, could lend more evidence. Builders will have more than 60 new houses open free to the public across the metro area in the second annual Parade of Homes Spring Festival.
Building permits in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman were down 7 percent through March compared with the first quarter of last year, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, which organized the home parade.
“It was kind of a shock to see that,” said Allen, president of the builders group and president and CEO of AllenStyle Homes and Allenton Custom Homes in Bethany. “I hear from all builders across the board that they’re overwhelmed.”
Part of it could be because of the extra wintry weather the first of the year, which kept builders from work. Catching up and getting ready for the parade could have kept many from getting permits to start more houses, Allen said.
People seem to be buying houses here at the same pace as this time last year, even with a slowdown recorded nationally.
Oklahoma City-area Realtors handled 1,664 sales in March, 2.1 percent than in March 2013, with a median price of $148,246, up 6 percent, according to the Metro Association of Realtors.
The National Association of Realtors reported this week that the pace of sales of single-family homes dropped 7.3 percent compared with the pace of March 2013.
Busy builders, healthy sales and even a smaller spring home parade are good signs, Allen said. The first spring parade last year had more than 100 houses and was meant to move inventory. Having just 60 this time “shows what the economy’s doing,” he said.
Alder Fine Homes built one of two feature homes for the parade, at 3116 Lavender Lane in Edmond’s Fallbrook addition, near N Western Avenue and W Covell Road.
Foster Signature Homes has the other feature home, at 4215 Cordova Court in Norman’s Las Colinas neighborhood, near W Tecumseh Road and 48th Ave. NW.
A searchable map with details on the homes is online at www.paradeofhomesok.com.