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Housing highs and lows: Taking a look back at first half of 2019

Retired U.S. Army Spc. Adam Putt is greeted by a crowd on Jan. 5 as he arrives for a kickoff event to mark the start of construction on his new home to be built by Homes For Our Troops in Newcastle. The nonprofit built and donated a specially adapted custom home for Putt and his family. Putt lost both legs to an improvised explosive device one month into his deployment to Iraq on Aug. 2, 2007. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]
Retired U.S. Army Spc. Adam Putt is greeted by a crowd on Jan. 5 as he arrives for a kickoff event to mark the start of construction on his new home to be built by Homes For Our Troops in Newcastle. The nonprofit built and donated a specially adapted custom home for Putt and his family. Putt lost both legs to an improvised explosive device one month into his deployment to Iraq on Aug. 2, 2007. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

For metro-area homebuilders, 4,854 was so 2018.

They zoomed past last year's total number of starts in November, enough new houses to make 2019 their most active year in five.

November ended with 4,978 new homes started, 10 percent more than the same time last year, and 2.5 percent more than in all of 2018, according to Dharma Inc.'s Builder Report. The report tracks construction in Oklahoma City, unincorporated Oklahoma County, Bethany, Blanchard, Choctaw, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Shawnee and Yukon.

Meanwhile, the year in housing unfolded equally successfully according to long-established plan — the Parade of Homes Spring Festival, the Symphony Designer Show Home, and other popular annual tours and events.

But 2019 will cast some shadows, as well, such as the death of broker Judy Lindsay in a car wreck the year her daughter, Becky Karpe, was serving as president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors — 10 years after Lindsay served.

A few highs, and that sad low, are depicted in these photos from the first half of this year. Next Saturday, we'll ease into 2020 with a look back at highlights of the last half of 2019.

With 2020 knocking on the door, here is a low, and a high, to watch in housing: low number of starter homes, higher prices.

"Is there a shortage of entry-level houses? Probably. Partially due to the labor shortage and our ability to get homes on the ground for buyers and partially due to the key word in (the) question: entry-level," said Jim Schuff, owner of Vesta Homes. "Partially due to how hard it is for a developer to find land at a price that they can develop and sell lots at 'entry-level' rates.

"Home prices are climbing. We are already hearing about product price increases that will take effect Jan. 1, the labor shortage is driving prices up every day and then we have code changes that are both slowing us down and costing more money! The homes that I am starting now have an average sales price of $135.50 per foot (compared with $131 at the beginning of this year and $127 in 2018) and will go up as the price increases continue to roll in."

Homes remain affordable here compared with other parts of the country, however, said Steve Shoemaker, vice president of marketing at Ideal Homes.

"Based on current demand, yes," he said, there is a shortage of entry-level homes. "Land and labor costs have been challenging when keeping our prices low. But when you look around the country, almost anyone would trade their affordability issues for ours. I was in Dallas as a judge for their homebuilder association awards and their builders are really wringing their hands over the lack of affordable housing.

"Our main focus for 2020 and beyond is securing land that will accommodate our more affordable home plans. Replacing current neighborhoods is a focus, but we’re also looking at expanding further outside of the metro to meet the affordability demand. For instance, we opened a new neighborhood in Blanchard this year. Tuttle, Harrah and others are under consideration."

Energy and elections are in the mix for 2020 and both can affect buyers' moods, so Authentic Custom Homes is among those being cautious, said Brandi Woods, co-owner with husband Kenyon. This year has been "very good," she said.

"It is our third full year of being closed on Sundays, and we continue to see growth and blessings from this leap of faith," she said. "Our focus for 2019 has not been on growth but on creating a culture that is built on our core values and working toward a goal that Kenyon set in January of 2019. His goal for Authentic is not to be the biggest builder in OKC but to be the best-run home building company. The major focus of this has been on the customer experience, systems, processes and leadership development. The majority of our focus has been on these two areas, core values and 'best run company,' and the growth has happened naturally.

"Looking ahead to 2020, the possible retraction of the oil and gas industry and the upcoming election are on our radar. We plan to manage through this by staying reserved and making intelligent decisions on where we build our homes and how many we will build. We are currently ramping up construction for the first quarter, as we often see an increase in contracts for our completed homes in the price range of $180,000 to $225,000 during the first three months of the year."

Shoemaker said Ideal Homes is planning for more closed sales and higher revenue than ever in 2020.

"Lot delivery will still be a concern, as well as material costs. And there’s a little election in November. Consumer confidence plays a big role in home sales. Elections can cause some people to put their plans on hold. But we are optimistic that the low interest rates and strong economy will keep buyer spirits high," he said.

Related Photos
<strong>In this photo from 10 years ago, Judy Lindsay, 2009 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, looks over paperwork with her daughter, Becky Karpe, who would become the 2019 president. Lindsay died in a car wreck on July 4. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]</strong>

In this photo from 10 years ago, Judy Lindsay, 2009 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, looks over paperwork with her daughter, Becky Karpe, who would become the 2019 president. Lindsay died in a car wreck on July 4. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0263cf0ec0258f196d3e840d0dac21d6.jpg" alt="Photo - In this photo from 10 years ago, Judy Lindsay, 2009 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, looks over paperwork with her daughter, Becky Karpe, who would become the 2019 president. Lindsay died in a car wreck on July 4. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" In this photo from 10 years ago, Judy Lindsay, 2009 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, looks over paperwork with her daughter, Becky Karpe, who would become the 2019 president. Lindsay died in a car wreck on July 4. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> In this photo from 10 years ago, Judy Lindsay, 2009 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, looks over paperwork with her daughter, Becky Karpe, who would become the 2019 president. Lindsay died in a car wreck on July 4. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-81579b4b1a808d74e1edd47e25d2f6fe.jpg" alt="Photo - Foster Signature Homes built 8301 Ridge Creek Road in Edmond for the 2019 Parade of Homes Spring Festival. [CENTRAL OKLAHOMA HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION] " title=" Foster Signature Homes built 8301 Ridge Creek Road in Edmond for the 2019 Parade of Homes Spring Festival. [CENTRAL OKLAHOMA HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION] "><figcaption> Foster Signature Homes built 8301 Ridge Creek Road in Edmond for the 2019 Parade of Homes Spring Festival. [CENTRAL OKLAHOMA HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8d78d64febb30a63b5e42f3300cc8a46.jpg" alt="Photo - The 2019 Symphony Show House was the former Sunbeam Home at 620 NW 21. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" The 2019 Symphony Show House was the former Sunbeam Home at 620 NW 21. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> The 2019 Symphony Show House was the former Sunbeam Home at 620 NW 21. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-63c97f70c35166bc32b0c2f1f1425a85.jpg" alt="Photo - Curtis McCarty, owner of C.A. McCarty Construction, a Norman-based homebuilding company, checks out a booth at the International Builders Show in February. Hundreds of builders from Oklahoma attend the trade show for education and to see the latest the industry has to offer. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Curtis McCarty, owner of C.A. McCarty Construction, a Norman-based homebuilding company, checks out a booth at the International Builders Show in February. Hundreds of builders from Oklahoma attend the trade show for education and to see the latest the industry has to offer. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Curtis McCarty, owner of C.A. McCarty Construction, a Norman-based homebuilding company, checks out a booth at the International Builders Show in February. Hundreds of builders from Oklahoma attend the trade show for education and to see the latest the industry has to offer. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e8561a2b2406264754d9adedd8761348.jpg" alt="Photo - Homeowner Sean Cobb, left, and architect Brian Fitzsimmons are shown near the swimming pool on the second-level deck of Cobb's "Urban Beach House," 819 NW 7, a stop on the annual American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter Architecture Tour in April. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Homeowner Sean Cobb, left, and architect Brian Fitzsimmons are shown near the swimming pool on the second-level deck of Cobb's "Urban Beach House," 819 NW 7, a stop on the annual American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter Architecture Tour in April. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Homeowner Sean Cobb, left, and architect Brian Fitzsimmons are shown near the swimming pool on the second-level deck of Cobb's "Urban Beach House," 819 NW 7, a stop on the annual American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter Architecture Tour in April. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-193f8ea9eacbbff740df2de7c7bf3507.jpg" alt="Photo - Richard Mize Employee Mug" title="Richard Mize Employee Mug"><figcaption>Richard Mize Employee Mug</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5f1f82ab08810c943ac1dab60b8acb7d.jpg" alt="Photo - Retired U.S. Army Spc. Adam Putt is greeted by a crowd on Jan. 5 as he arrives for a kickoff event to mark the start of construction on his new home to be built by Homes For Our Troops in Newcastle. The nonprofit built and donated a specially adapted custom home for Putt and his family. Putt lost both legs to an improvised explosive device one month into his deployment to Iraq on Aug. 2, 2007. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] " title=" Retired U.S. Army Spc. Adam Putt is greeted by a crowd on Jan. 5 as he arrives for a kickoff event to mark the start of construction on his new home to be built by Homes For Our Troops in Newcastle. The nonprofit built and donated a specially adapted custom home for Putt and his family. Putt lost both legs to an improvised explosive device one month into his deployment to Iraq on Aug. 2, 2007. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] "><figcaption> Retired U.S. Army Spc. Adam Putt is greeted by a crowd on Jan. 5 as he arrives for a kickoff event to mark the start of construction on his new home to be built by Homes For Our Troops in Newcastle. The nonprofit built and donated a specially adapted custom home for Putt and his family. Putt lost both legs to an improvised explosive device one month into his deployment to Iraq on Aug. 2, 2007. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES] </figcaption></figure>
Richard Mize

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... Read more ›

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