The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

July 14, 2013

Survey says Enid is desperate for new housing options

ENID, Okla. — Studies show smoking stunts growth.

We also know that Enid’s lack of housing is a “choke point” that stunts our economic growth.

Enid Regional Development Alliance recently worked with CDS Market Research to conduct a housing study. The goal is to help Enid avoid another “choke point” for the growth of the community and bring new business to the area.

We’ve long known about this problem anecdotally, but the study helps illustrate and quantify Enid’s housing shortage with specifics.

New home construction in Enid peaked in 2008 but fell off a cliff, coinciding with the recession that began that year.

Enid could support up to 400 new rental units over the next two years, according to the study.

It is reasonable for developers to immediately build 150 to 200 homes. The report states “the market could likely support at least twice this amount” — particularly if they are more affordable homes. Enid’s residential market also could handle up to 400 new apartments.

And that’s taking the end of the oil play into consideration.

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

Image if the Stonebridge Village development north of Chestnut Avenue along Cleveland Street had not recently been approved. This sobering report would have been a slap in the face.

We control our future. Enid desperately needs to lure investors, builders and contractors for new housing options across the economic spectrum.

This housing study raises several questions: Why don’t we have more builders and subcontractors, and why does construction take so long?

We know the problems. Now it’s up to the housing task force to come up with solutions.

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