The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

March 29, 2013

Choke point: ERDA eyes housing study

ENID, Okla. — Enid Regional Development Alliance is working with a Houston-based company to conduct a housing study in Enid.

CDS Market Research has conducted similar studies in Pryor, Ardmore and Ponca City and worked with Oklahoma City and Tulsa, ERDA Executive Director Brent Kisling said.

The housing study is meant to help ERDA avoid another “choke point” for the growth of business and bringing new business to the area.

“Part of our responsibility with ERDA is to bring new companies to town and help local companies expand,” Kisling said. “We’re also trying to identify what those choke points are (that are) preventing growth or keeping businesses out of Enid.”

He said ERDA most recently addressed work force recruitment as a choke point for business growth.

“Now that we’ve started being successful with work force coming to town, we’re finding our next choke point is housing,” Kisling said.

He said the study will determine the exact needs of the community statistically for local builders and lenders.

A city of Enid report shows 27 permits for single-family homes were issued in 2012, eight more than the previous year. In 2010, 72 permits were issued for single-family homes, while 34 of such permits were issued in 2009 and 54 were issued in 2008

The sole recent building permit for an apartment was issued in 2011, for the 102-unit Tuscana Apartments.

Figures for 2012 do not account for the $3.65 million renovation of Clay Hall at Northern Oklahoma College. The historic dormitory building is being renovated by Construction Technologies LLC, and will become senior apartments after completion.

David Ritchie, a board member for Enid Metro Association of Realtors and Enid Homebuilders Association, said Enid’s available housing has significantly dropped in the past 14 months. Now, the supply is about three months and two weeks.

“That is considered to be an unbelievably strong sellers’ market,” said Ritchie, who also is owner of Chisholm Creek Development. “We’re in a critical shortage of housing.”

He said the average home price in 2012 was $115,181. This year’s average home price is $146,316, a 27 percent increase.

CDS Market Research’s study will go beyond just figures, Kisling said.

“It’s a lot more than a survey,” he said. The study will focus on housing trends in Enid and the surrounding area, examine the regional market and involve interviews with stakeholders.

“They will also provide us with some solutions, things other communities have done and partnerships that could be formed,” Kisling said. “It’s a very comprehensive study that’s been asked for.”

Work already has begun, and Kisling said the findings from the study will be released sometime in July.

“We’ll be holding a public meeting for those findings to be released,” he said. Kisling noted the housing issue is an important one for Enid to sustain recent growth.

“We are in a golden age right now in the Enid economy. There’s more wealth than there ever has been in the history of our community,” he said. “If we’re going to continue this golden age and not let it fade away, we need to take advantage of it.”

Kisling said new and longtime businesses alike need to continue growing.

“Now that we’ve brought enough people in, the number of houses on the market has dwindled,” he said. “That way, this becomes a long-term growth trend for Enid and not a boom and bust, like what we’ve seen historically.”

Staff Writer James Neal contributed to this report.

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