Oklahoma Tornadoes: Storms bring cutthroat construction competition

Repairs and the coming rebuilding from May's destruction have drawn questionable contractors and a construction labor shortage to central Oklahoma, builders say.
by Richard Mize Modified: July 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm •  Published: July 27, 2013
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“The best scenario is for one person to put a whole area together and sell them to builders. But I'm afraid you're going to see onesies and twosies,” he said.

Newbies need

not apply

Haworth said the influx of newcomers caused the Moore Home Builders Association to suspend consideration of new applicants, to keep companies with motel-room offices and P.O. boxes from being able to claim to be local.

“We don't want the fly-by-nights. When the fly-by-nights leave town, we'll start accepting new applicants,” Haworth said.

Builders from Edmond, Norman, even Tulsa, he said, have come to Moore to rebuild — and they're welcome if members of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, with its insurance requirements and grievance process. Haworth advised people to avoid doing business with any builder not a member of the association. Approved builders are listed here: www.oshba.org/pages/tornadorelief.

Crout said he didn't expect to see much rebuilding for another month or two. He said the first building permit issued for a rebuild came just this week.

So the increase in building permits the first half of the year owes nothing to rebuilding from the tornadoes. Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman issued 2,661 single-family permits through June, 16.4 percent more than in the first half of 2012, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

Boom yet to come

Tornado-related sales are hard to detect in recent stats from the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, although Keith Taggart, president, said the increased demand is showing up in contract negotiations.

“Multiple offers have increased substantially,” and sale prices are going over asking prices, said Taggart, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select's office in Mustang.

Realtors handled the sale of 1,803 houses in June, up 5.9 percent from June 2012, and the median price of $151,250 was an increase of 10 percent, the Realtors reported.

Taggart said pending sales show the coming post-tornado boom: At the end of June, 2,214 houses were under contract to sell, compared with 1,661 the same time last summer — a 33.3-percent increase.

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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