Oklahoma City housing inventory shrinking

Buyers shaved more slivers from the local housing inventory in October, putting the supply — just barely — under five months, tipping the market advantage even more toward sellers. Realtors in the Oklahoma City area handled the sale of 1,544 houses last month, 7 percent more than in September and 20 percent more than in October 2011, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. The figure reflects the majority of sales but does not include those sold directly by builders or other owners. But the number of homes listed for sale at the end of October defined the changes in the market here, with more than 1,000 fewer homes for sale compared with a year ago. October ended with 7,444 houses on the Realtors' Multiple Listing Service, a 12.1 percent drop of 1,025 compared with 8,469 listed a year ago. Compared with September, the number of homes on the MLS last month was down by 93, or 1.2 percent, according to the Realtors' statistics. It comes to a five-month supply, according to The Oklahoman's calculations, which consider only sales by Realtors, not by builders directly. Of course, it's an estimate, but here is some conversation fodder for close market watchers: That five-month supply was rounded. Taking the 7,444 houses for sale at October's end, and dividing by 1,490.83 — the monthly average sales for the past 12 months — yields an inventory that would last 4.99319171 months if the sales pace sustained and no more houses went on the market. Buyers still maintain the edge, said Lorna Koeninger, president of the Metro Association of Realtors and a broker associate with Paradigm AdvantEdge Real Estate. Rich and Marlene Deatherage, retirees from a Detroit suburb, contributed to demand for houses this fall in the Oklahoma City area. The couple moved into a new custom home just finished by Two Structures Homes northwest of Pennsylvania Avenue and Covell Road. They bought it with assistance from Paula Thurman of Metro First Realty. A friendly market for buyers has kept sales healthy here all year. Brian and Alexis Lux were able to buy a home in Oklahoma City in May with assistance from Heidi Rose, an associate with Keller Williams Realty in Edmond. The couple still own a house they left behind in North Canton, Ohio, four years ago. “We love Oklahoma City ... and plan to be here for many more years,” Alexis Lux said. “We are thankful to be here and for our house!” Koeninger said she sees the market giving sellers the edge before long. “Just my opinion: that there's still a buyer's market and there may well be with the low interest rates, but unless housing inventory increases before the end of the year and into the start of the coming year, we may well see a seller's market in 2013 with new homes being built to fill the supply and demand for first-time homebuyers as well as relocations,” she said. Houses sold eight days faster on average last month compared with October 2011, and the average loan rate in October was 3.7 percent, compared with 4.29 percent the month before. “Home sales are still holding strong for 2012 with two months remaining. With the interest rates still at an all-time low, buyers will still be shopping,” Koeninger said, looking ahead to 2013. “Investors will still be looking for foreclosures and distressed properties, lowering still the inventory, which should push the demand for homebuilders. “With elections finally over, interest rates remain low — but for how long? This question has always been a consideration in buying now or later. 2013, with interest rates remaining low and builders' confidence still high, could be a seller's market.”