There was great news delivered to Oklahoma home builders at the recent NAHB Spring Meeting in Washington. And it's going to get even better.
Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the NAHB, told those of us attending the Spring Meeting that building activity in Oklahoma has fully recovered from the Great Recession of 2008.
Oklahoma is in the top three states in the nation as far as the recovery is concerned.
According to Dr. Crowe's profile, we are back to 100 percent of our normal home activity. And we are projected to be one of only five states by the end of 2015 to be somewhere in the area of 110 to 120 percent of our growth.
That's like turning the volume on a speaker to 11.
Part of Oklahoma's economic strength is we didn't fall as far during the economic downturn. And the Oklahoma economy has been boosted by strong activity in the energy and agriculture sectors, Foust said.
In addition to myself, other Oklahomans in attendance were Phil Rhees, vice president/treasurer of OSHBA; Paul Kane, executive director of Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa; home builder Mark Livingston of Oklahoma City, Stillwater home builder Roger Gose and Connie Stokes, Realtor from Tulsa.
The Oklahoma delegation also participated in discussions of issues of concern to home builders nationwide, such as attempts by some members of Congress to eliminate the home mortgage tax credit, as well as the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both of which are government sponsored enterprises.
Because most first-time home buyers do an FHA loan and that's Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. So, if all of a sudden you were to take that away, you couldn't buy a home. Because you have to have 20 percent down and, for most first-time home buyers, that's putting them completely out of the market.
Another concern are attempts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to limit exposure to silica in the construction process
But the economic news heard at the meeting was all good for Oklahoma.
Probably the biggest thing to take away from it is we're one of the states that is leading the way in this recovery. Oklahoma City, Tulsa, are in the top 25 as far as cities recovery goes. We've got a strong environment and we're doing well and in the foreseeable future we're continuing in that direction.
(Foust serves on the NAHB Board of Directors and is a leadership capacity on several subcommittees. He was recently named Certified Professional Builder of the Month for May by OSHBA.)