Rebuilding in Moore supplied the standout stats in metro-area housing again in October as the market — and the community as a whole — continued to recover from the May tornadoes.
Moore issued 93 single-family building permits in October compared to 19 in October 2012, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
For the year through October, Moore issued 544 permits, compared to 191 the first 10 months of last year.
“You sure can tell that Moore has come on strong,” said Robert Crout, president of the builders association. Home building across the metro area is growing. “It's extremely strong because of the recovery,” he said.
Gain over last year
Through October, Oklahoma City, Moore, Edmond, Midwest City and Norman together issued 4,703 single-family building permits, an increase of 20.8 percent, the association reported.
Even without the increases in Moore, Crout said, the metro area would still have ended October with 14 percent more permits issued than in the same period last year.
“The rebuilding seems to be going really well. A lot of houses are on the verge of being finished,” said Moore builder Marvin Haworth of Marvin Haworth Homes. “And we still have customers coming in who have not signed a contract for a rebuild. Lots of people haven't decided what to do.”
Lots in demand
In addition to such personal decisions, the business of building also continues to respond, he said, as now-bare former home sites are being worked into the general supply.
“A lot of the lots are coming back onto the market,” Haworth said, estimating that 30 to 40 percent of tornado-swept building sites are being bought by builders or by people who intend to contract with builders.
The supply of lots was tight even before the tornadoes, he said, although it might not have seemed like it considering the open land visible in developed neighborhoods. However, many open lots were already in the hands of builders, or being held by developers for builders with whom they had established relationships, he said.
So the tornado lots are commanding premium prices, Haworth said, just as in the months following the May 3, 1999, tornado, which also leveled swathes of Moore. He used a typical lot — 55 to 65 feet wide, 120 feet deep — as an example.
After the 1999 tornado, he said, lots that would have sold for $6,000 eventually fetched up to $12,000.
Now, he said, lots that were selling for $22,000 are already selling for up to $30,000.
Meanwhile, Haworth said, the community is finding its footing again.
“There's lots of things happening in Moore. The hospital is coming back,” he said of Moore Medical Center, which was demolished. “That's a tremendous relief for people in the community. It was insured for $60 million and they could have paid off a lot of debt, but they're bringing it back.”
In addition, First American Title & Trust and the post office are being rebuilt, he said.
Builders and Realtors did sense a bit of a slowdown in October, but Crout said it was a good kind of slow.
“Builders are now where they're catching their breath,” he said. “They're geared up for higher volume. With just a little slowdown, it's allowed it to be at a nice pace.”
Prices for houses sold by Realtors slipped in October, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. The average of $165,320 was a 2.6 percent drop from October 2012; and the median price of $142,313 was a decline of 0.5 percent, the Realtors reported.
“I heard from some brokers that there was a little bit of a slowdown in October, but November picked back up,” said Keith Taggart, president of the Realtors association and managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select's office in Mustang. “In my office, things are still going along pretty steadily. We're still getting multiple offers.”
Edmond eyes record
Edmond is still on pace to reach a record 4,000 homes sold for the year, said Brian Preston of RE/MAX Associates Realtors in Edmond, who prepares the monthly Preston Report on sales statistics.
“October matched last October with 314 homes closed. That puts our year-to-date gain at 13.07 percent,” he wrote on his blog. “Still on our way to that milestone of 4,000 closed homes. We just need 502 more closings to meet that mark in the last months. We had 609 closings in the last two months of 2012.”
He added, “Compared to the rest of the year, (just) matching October's numbers from last year seems like a decline. However, it was during the fourth quarter last year that the big upswing in sales began. So matching it is still good for our market.”
I heard from some brokers that there was a little bit of a slowdown in October, but November picked back up.”
President of the Realtors association and managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select's office in Mustang