The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 11, 2013

Needed in Enid: A place to live

(Continued)

ENID, Okla. — 100-percent capacity

Enid’s stock of homes is skewed toward older structures. Most of the homes built in Enid are at least 40 years old, Spillette said.

“It’s nice to have older housing, because it tends to be more affordable,” Spillette said.

However, on the other hand, he told  ERDA that workers moving to Enid might be used to having something newer, with more amenities that modern homes elsewhere provide.

That extends to multifamily housing, also known as apartments. Just a fraction of the complexes in Enid are younger than a decade and even then, virtually all are at 100-percent capacity, the CDS study reports.

“We’ve never seen statistics in any market we’ve worked in that are quite like this,” Spillette said.

Houses for rent rarely stay vacant, he added.

“It’s all full. Even if they’re not happy with the house they’re renting right now, they’re not willing to move out because they’re afraid they can’t find anything else,” he said. “They feel, out of fear, that they have to stay where they are.”

That’s pushing residents to “settle” for apartments and houses they might otherwise ignore.

“There’s a lot of great landlords here in Enid, but there’s some that aren’t,” Spillette said. “Because the market is so tight, and they don’t necessarily have to invest in their properties to get tenants, they’re letting maintenance go.”

‘Existential fear’

There may be a day in the near future when the energy boom will bust, forcing oil field hands to look elsewhere for work. Acknowledging this, Spillette encouraged optimism in Enid’s business crowd, which packed adjoining ballrooms of Oakwood Country Club Thursday for ERDA’s annual meeting.

Since his firm began its study a few months ago, he’s heard about the “stickiness” of the local economy that’s keeping more investors from tackling large developments. A complaint in town is that the investment community doesn’t understand Enid’s market, and those who look here are scared by previous oil and gas busts.

Not so, Spillette said, noting the expanding industrial-agriculture sector.

“It’s an existential fear that the growth we’re having is not permanent,” he said. “Our research shows that it’s not true. It’s real, it’s long-term and it’s not going away.”

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