The Norman Transcript

March 22, 2014

Single-family homes dominate Moore housing market following May 20 tornado

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The biggest share of Moore housing — 87 percent — is single-family detached homes. Multi-family comprises only 9 percent of the housing sector at this point, and duplexes and mobile homes are even smaller percentages.

Most people in Moore — 69 percent — own their homes. Only 26 percent of homes are renter occupied.

“That’s below national average,” said Taylor Yewell, senior associate at RKG Associates Inc. “More people here own their homes than nationwide.”

Yewell reported to the Moore City Council recently on the Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis RKG completed for the city of Moore.

“You are growing, and you are adding jobs,” he said.

Demographics indicate that the highest percentage of Moore’s population is between the ages of 25 and 44. Yewell said the quality schools in Moore attract young families to the community.

“You’ve got a lot of young householders here,” he said.

He said the city has “nice, steady job growth,” and reported that the population growth is expected to continue and will “put demand pressure on the housing market.” The median age is 32 and young, working-age households dominate the Moore housing market.

While those age 65 and older is the smallest demographic, it is also a group showing a large percentage of growth, and those people need appropriate housing.

Yewell said developers are responding to the need for more senior housing and 126 units are in the development pipeline.

Older populations are demanding age-restricted apartments with amenities. Yewell said many of those people are still working. The aging population also needs nursing homes.

“Nursing homes are a real important housing sector because people want aging relatives nearby,” he said.

Like the rest of the county and the nation, a majority of Moore residents fall into the $50,000-to-$70,000 income range.

“People in Moore are overall more prosperous than in the county and the state,” Yewell said.

Moore experienced 14.4 percent job growth from 2002 to 2011, outpacing Cleveland County and the state.

“We looked at where people work,” Yewell said. “People don’t drive very far to go to work. They can live here and take advantage of the schools and have a short drive to work.”

Moore has added jobs in retail but also has added jobs in higher-paying sectors. Despite the job growth, the largest share of Moore residents are commuters.

As of 2010, 3,002 people who live in Moore also worked in Moore. A large number of people — 10,729 — live elsewhere and commute to Moore to work, but the largest number — 21,641 — live in Moore and commute to work in other cities.

Oklahoma City is the top job provider to Moore residents with 15,959, or 55.5 percent, of Moore residents’ jobs.

Norman is also a large employer of Moore residents, based on the 2011 statistics presented by Yewell. According to that data, 2,560 Moore residents commute to Norman to work.

Much of Moore’s employment base is in retail, entertainment, hotels and restaurants along the Interstate 35 corridor, but only 16 percent of that work force lives in Moore. Yewell said that is a demographic future housing could accommodate.

Local developers are responding to the apartment demand, Yewell said. Seven hundred and two units are in the pipeline being developed.

Moore experienced a huge building boom in the 1970s. While current numbers trail that, the housing market is still robust.

Homes are affordable in Moore. The market may push more apartments, but the demand is for quality-built apartments with amenities. The good news revealed by the report is that affordable housing is available and people are rebuilding quickly after the May 20 tornado.

While the percentage of rentals is low, there are high concentrations of single-family rentals in some areas. He encouraged the city to monitor that so aging neighborhoods don’t decline.

Recommendations for the future by RKG are:

· Support and encourage higher-end housing.

· Monitor high renter-occupied neighborhoods.

· Support and encourage higher-density housing options for young professionals and empty nesters.

· Preplan for the arrival of commuter transit.

· Identify underutilized retail center for redevelopment potential.

“There’s no condo market here,” Yewell said. “I think certainly apartments will continue to be in demand.”

He said it’s important to start planning now for sites next to transit.

“Think about doing a master plan and what kind of density you want there,” he said.

This is an opportunity for Moore to define the downtown area and give it an identity through “transit-oriented development,” Yewell said.

Joy Hampton



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