The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 26, 2013

According to a report, city of Enid could support many new apartments and homes

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s housing situation was in the news again this week.

Whitney Box, city of Enid director of strategic and long-range planning, outlined the issue during a talk earlier this week at Enid Rotary Club. The situation also was investigated in a recent report commissioned by Enid Regional Development Alliance.

The city could support a lot more houses and apartments, according to the study. The market could support 300-400 homes, particularly if they are more affordable homes. In addition, the market could support up to 400 new apartments, according to the study.

All of this isn’t really new information to anyone who has lived in Enid for a few years.

Back in August 2012, the News & Eagle looked at the housing situation.

Jimmy Nicholas, who then was president of Enid Metro Association of Realtors, said construction of new homes in the median price range, about $75,000 to $150,000, is hampered because builders have a hard time making a profit on smaller homes.

“It’s harder to build that $110,000 or $115,000 house because your costs per square foot are higher,” Nicholas said. “Your costs per square foot are going to be less for a bigger house.”

Thus, he said, builders have to go bigger to turn a profit.

“I would love if someone would put in a tract of 1,100-, 1,200- and 1,300-square-foot houses,” Nicholas said back then, “but with the land, development and construction costs, you’re still going to be talking $100 to $110 per square foot to build those homes.”

Some out-of-town builders have been noticing the market perhaps with an eye toward stepping in. The situation as it is — with demand high and supply low — could spark the kind of competition that will result in more construction.

As it stands, city officials and other community leaders are talking about the situation and solutions.

It’s possible ERDA or some other organization could offer incentives. One thing the city is doing is looking at construction costs and possible incentives. One example Box outlined is city code requires 12-inch water pipe in new construction. She said the city is considering a program to help developers pay for the more expensive pipe. That makes sense.

The situation requires a multi-faceted approach. No one thing is going to magically turn things around.

It is a question that deserves attention.