Oklahoma City, Tulsa rank high in housing markets

Published: Saturday, June 27, 2009 7:00 am By: Richard Mize

The Oklahoman

The good news is that a real estate forecast put Oklahoma City and Tulsa among the housing markets with the "best expected performance" over the next year.

The so-so news is that means home prices aren't expected to drop, according to Local Market Monitor in Cary, N.C., which released its latest Home Price Index for more than 300 markets this week.

The company, using a proprietary formula to determine an equilibrium home price, listed Oklahoma's two biggest cities among the following top housing markets:

Dallas-Plano-Irving, Fort Worth-Arlington, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, San Antonio and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, in Texas; Rochester and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, in New York; Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, in Arkansas, and Baton Rouge, La.

"These are markets that did not have a large boost in home prices over the last few years and therefore, even though the (broader) economy is doing poorly, no adjustment in prices has been necessary," said Ingo Winzer, president of Local Market Monitor. "Steady economic growth and price appreciation have helped these markets remain stable."

Better news to builder Jeff Click is found on the ground. Builders in the greater Oklahoma City area took out more single-family building permits in May than any time in the past nine months, said Click, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

Builders obtained 394 permits last month, the third monthly increase in a row, Click said, citing statistics from The Builder Report, which tracks cities in Oklahoma County south to Noble, west to Yukon and east to Shawnee. That was the most since 387 permits last September, he said.

"Pent-up demand, coupled with the number of buyers taking advantage of the $8,000 (federal) tax credit, is having a positive effect on the residential construction industry here," he said. "I believe the increase in permits is due to a strong month of pre-sold homes, as well as an increase in builder confidence that there is adequate demand for new homes to come over the next several months."

Builders closer in to the city obtained fewer permits in May than the month before, the builders association reported. Builders in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman took out 277 permits in May, down 25.7 percent from May 2008.

In the first five months of the year, builders obtained 1,229 permits in those cities, down 31 percent compared with the same period last year.

Home sales, while down 15 percent last month compared with May 2008, were improved from recent months, said Judy Lindsay, a managing broker at Paradigm AdvantEdge Real Estate and president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.

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