The numbers make it clear: Oklahoma City area homebuilding is gaining traction.
Kurt Dinnes reels off the figures: Home starts in Oklahoma City were up 35 percent in 2012 over 2011 with Edmond up even more, by 47 percent. Overall, the Oklahoma City metro area was up about 28 percent.
“We're really excited about it,” said Dinnes, who wrapped up his term as Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association president in December. “Everybody I talk to who's in the building business right now seems to be very busy. And that's what we want to see.”
Starts are nosing up nationally, as well, he said, though not to the extent they have in the Oklahoma City area.
Still, it's good news, especially since housing starts offer a glimpse into the state of the economy.
“In Oklahoma City, we're very blessed,” Dinnes said. “We didn't have the hard crash. We felt it — there's no doubt we felt it — but we didn't have the hard crash many parts of the country had.”
Dinnes said he is happy with how his year at the helm turned out.
“I was lucky to be there in a year when the economy started to bounce back,” he said.
“So our association grew in the terms of things we were able to accomplish. Our association became more solid, and we got a lot done with government affairs.”
Topping the government affairs list? Sprinkler systems. Oklahoma City officials weighed the idea adopting a building code that, among other things, would require sprinkler systems in new homes.
“We felt like that was onerous and, again, would add to the inflation of homes,” Dinnes said.
The ensuing debate pitted housing industry leaders against safety advocates, but after a quiet public hearing on the issue, city officials adopted the code minus the sprinkler system requirement.