Editor's note: This article will be published in the August edition of Oklahoma Builder magazine
By Kurt Dinnes
OSHBA State President
Summer has definitely settled in and the “heat is on” in more ways than one. Most people refer to these days as "the dog days of summer.” However, for builders, this can be very productive time. Custom builders will be working hard to catch-up time that may have been lost during the rainy season earlier this summer, while spec home and production builders will be finishing and evaluating their inventories for the fall season.
I have had the opportunity to visit with builders from around the state. The feedback that I'm getting has been a mixed bag. Homebuilding seems to be the strongest in some of our small towns, rural and resort areas. Our larger metropolitan areas are reporting new starts slowing.
However, the enthusiasm and feedback I get from our Enid builders leads me to believe Enid continues to set a respectable pace. Economic indicators can often be difficult to interpret and even more difficult to apply to our business growth strategies.
Here are a few obvious considerations as we plan for the second half of the year.
Our state’s tax collections are showing a downward trend between 3.5-7.5 percent, depending on the type of tax. The Realtors, at least in the OKC metro area, report the average size and price of homes selling is down approximately 25-30 percent over last year. Realtors report new homes selling the best are homes under 300K.
We know with the slowing of the oil industry and the historical uncertainty often preceding a presidential election can bring about conservatism with future homebuyers.
However, there are many positives notes. Oklahoma is still considered an affordable and great place to raise a family and, with interest rates at near record lows, can certainly help keep quality housing strong and affordable across our great state.
I am certainly not an economist. Rather, like many of you, I am a builder trying to be prudent about planning for the short term and long term and on a good day that's never easy. Perhaps, this may be a good time to exercise some conservatism while remaining optimistic.
One thing is for sure, we will certainly want to look at the first quarter after the election, as this most likely will be a greater indicator of the direction our economy and industry will be heading.
Summit upon us
I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are just a few days left before the early-bird registration closes on our upcoming Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo. I am so excited about this year’s Summit. Opening the Summit is Pete Winemiller with the OKC Thunder. While Oklahoma has embraced the Thunder, hearing from Pete about how they will overcome adversity with the loss of Kevin Durant, the experience, should be enlightening.
But there is more. You will hear from Al Trellis about the latest ideas on how to market your homes, from Lisa Peck on the latest design trends, and from Todd Hallett on how to refine your plans to incorporate not only the latest trend but help your bottom line. The Oklahoma Building Summit is the place to be to learn how to make your business more profitable.
Yet it is also an Expo! We have some terrific vendors who will be there and most will be offering superb show discounts! It will be a fun, educational, jam-packed two days.
And closing the Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo will be our very own NAHB Chief Economist Rob Dietz. A peek into the probable future will be beneficial for all members. As you can tell, I am excited and hope you are too.
I am personally registering three other of my team members so as not to miss any important information. I attend each year and can honestly say I take way valuable information that helps me and my team to do a better job building, selling and managing our company and you will too.
See you at the Summit!
In closing, remember, as a valued member of your Local HBA, you are also a valued member of this OSHBA and the NAHB. Together, we are all working to make a positive difference in our industry and keep the American dream of home ownership alive in Oklahoma.
Kurt Dinnes is president of OSHBA and state rep to NAHB. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (405) 641-2154.