It's been nice having Joe Pryor as president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors this year for lots of reasons, but I have a selfish one: I know the guy.
Well, I mean I'm pretty well acquainted with him. I've been talking with him about housing off and on, sometimes on background, sometimes to quote him, for almost 10 years now. He takes my calls and my emails and my private Facebook messages — and he responds to my questions ASAP.
And that's the secret to getting your story out through the working press: access and quick response. If I could clone Joe, an agent with Redbud Realty & Associates in Edmond, I would. Realtor Mary Terry of Ada is association president for 2014, and I look forward to making her acquaintance.
Before Joe gets away, here are some of his year-end thoughts:
“It should be expected that the Fed will continue quantitative easing through the middle of 2014. Even though the Federal Reserve has started tapering, they will do most of it up front on Treasuries and only on mortgage-backed securities toward the end, so rates should rise on mortgages, but slowly through June 2014.”
“New construction will not keep up with demand. The reason is the lack of availability of developed lots. Most of the land for development is on the west side of Oklahoma City in Piedmont, Yukon and Mustang school districts. The market will not have enough supply until toward the end of next year when new subdivisions come online.”
“First, the lack of enough new construction to fill demand will be absorbed by existing construction. This will keep the inventory low, so we should see continued appreciation. The possibility of increased inventory would only be if refinancing slows down, and that trend is something we are seeing now. Many decided that it was better to stay in the home and go for a lower rate or fix the home up or expand it.”
“Investors have always bought in Oklahoma City, but not in any great quantity. The corporate investors have opted for foreclosure markets like Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. The speculators have gone to places like North Dakota because of the (energy) boom. Oklahoma has stayed under the radar, and that is a good thing, since it means a higher degree of owner occupancy.”
New housing types
“The downtown renaissance has shown that we are more than a single-family and apartment-dwelling market. Expect more townhomes that appeal to the under-32 generation as well as more declared adult communities that appeal to over-55-year-olds. The condo market seems to still be a bit slow in suburban and urban areas, so no great increase is expected there.”
Outside big cities
“Two factors affect more rural areas. The first are major energy plays to the south and west ends of Oklahoma. This is affecting housing in smaller communities of 10,000 to 50,000 population, for instance. Even the use of modular motels is coming into play to accommodate workers. The continuation of ethanol subsidies will keep rural land increasing or keeping value.”
“The recent budget deal gives us some security and confidence in the economy, but this does not signal an end to skirmishes in Congress. We need to monitor through next year how far the swing will be in getting the government out of backing mortgages.”
“With 2014 an election year, both parties will be cautious about enacting anything that alienates voters on housing. There will probably be lots of speeches and posturing, but I don't expect many bills enacted. Rates should stay low, although they should rise somewhat but not enough to affect our housing market. Expect what we normally see in Oklahoma: spending in the area of 1 to 5 percent appreciation. Volume should continue to rise but modestly. Again, being an election year, there will be some degree of uncertainty. We should see as much as a 10 percent rise in volume as long as rates are reasonable.”