Homebuilders are building up a boom this summer, come the coronavirus or high water.
And new houses in the COVID-19 era are different. Buyers want double home offices. Outdoor living areas, already in demand, are more popular than ever. “Healthy” homes are moving into the mainstream.
Home starts hit 665 in July, the most since August 2013, when the market was hitting its stride coming out of the Great Recession, according to Norman-based Dharma Inc.’s Builder Report.
That was 47.8% more than the month before, and 55.7% more than in July 2019, Dharma reported.
Through July, builders took permits to build 3,351 homes, an increase of 14.1% compared with the first seven months of 2019, according to Builder Report, which tracks construction in Oklahoma City, unincorporated Oklahoma County, Bethany, Blanchard, Choctaw, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Shawnee and Yukon.
“We are amazed at how heated up the OKC and U.S. real estate market has become during this COVID pandemic,” said Caleb McCaleb, owner of McCaleb Homes in Edmond. “Everyone thought that the market was going to have a deep recession in real estate when everything started closing down. We are finding that because of the historic low mortgage interest rates, below 3%, the market has soared.”
The Federal Reserve helped create “unsustainable low rates” to save and stimulate the economy, he said. In housing at least, it’s working.
The low inventory of finished houses for sale has builders rushing to meet demand. Across the metro area, the supply of homes listed with Realtors slipped to 1.7 months in June, down from 1.8 months in May, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. The association will have July statistics out next week.