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Rebuilding in Moore after Oklahoma tornadoes pumps up construction

Moore issued 93 single-family building permits in October compared to 19 in October 2012, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.
by Richard Mize Modified: November 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm •  Published: November 30, 2013

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.

Premium prices

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.

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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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I heard from some brokers that there was a little bit of a slowdown in October, but November picked back up.”

Keith Taggart,
President of the Realtors association and managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select's office in Mustang


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