Raising Roofs

By Richard Mize Real Estate Editor richardmize@oklahoman.com

March 25, 2016

Oklahoma will need new homes for the equivalent of two more Edmonds — or three Moores, or 10 Mustangs — by 2020, according to the first comprehensive statewide housing needs study in 15 years.

That’s 66,821 housing units, including 43,942 owned and 22,879 rented, according to the study, commissioned by the state Commerce Department and the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency.

The study details needs in each of the state’s 77 counties and forecasts demographic trends and economic growth. It also reveals each county’s needs in disaster resiliency, homelessness, fair housing and lead-based paint hazards.

The data will be used by private developers and builders, community action agencies and related nonprofits, state and local governments, lenders and others involved in housing, said consultant Byron DeBruler of Oklahoma City’s DeBruler Inc.

DeBruler Inc. joined with the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture’s Division of Regional and City Planning and New York-based Integra Realty Resources Inc.’s office in Tulsa in the $500,000 study.

The research was paid for with federal disaster recovery funds made available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development after the 2013 Moore tornado and originating with the response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

It is not the kind of data that collects dust. DeBruler said the state Department of Health is already using the data to seek federal money for its childhood lead poisoning prevention program.

“The Housing Needs Assessment is monumental when it comes to understanding the needs, trends and focus ofaffordable housing in the state,” said Dennis Shockley, executive director of the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency. “This research will prove vital to builders, developers and city planners as they target their efforts and resources to areas demonstrating the greatest demand for housing.”

The entire study is available at http://oklahomahousingneeds.org.

“We don’t know that there’s a study of this magnitude that’s been done anywhere else in the country. It’s something we’ll probably take to our colleagues in other states,” said Holley Mangham, director of communications for the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency.

Key findings include:

• Of the projected need for 43,942 housing units for ownership, 17 percent will be needed by those earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.

• Of the projected need for 22,879 rental units, 51 percent will be needed by those earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.

• Median household income in Oklahoma was estimated at $47,049 in 2015, compared with the national median household income of $53,706. Since 2000, the state median has grown by 2.16 percent per year, slower than the rate of inflation.

• Median home value in Oklahoma was estimated at $112,800, compared with $176,700 for the United States.

• Median gross rent (utilities included) in Oklahoma is estimated to be $699 per month, compared with $904 per month for the U.S.

• About 40 percent of renters and 19 percent of owners are “housing cost overburdened” in Oklahoma.

“We hope the impact of the Housing Needs Assessment will be to bring more affordable housing to Oklahomans and to preserve existing housing,” said David Puckett, senior director, Integra Realty Resources. “Each county’s report addresses housing needs, information about the local economy, local economic growth, disaster resiliency, homeless and fair housing issues. It’s a highly detailed analysis.”