View Full Version : Will downtown ever have affordable housing for sale?



OU Adonis
05-09-2008, 10:37 AM
Will downtown ever have affordable(>$200k) housing? I would love to move down town but dropping 200+ for a small condo isn't a good deal.

Is it reasonable to think we will get housing for less than $150k for singles? Or should I pin my hopes of winning the lottery? I am just a middle income single guy, and downtown has priced us out of the market.

Pete
05-09-2008, 10:44 AM
The Lofts at Maywood Park are all under $200K and are currently under construction:

The Lofts at Maywood Park (http://www.theloftsatmaywoodpark.com/)

Also, you can buy units in Sycamore Square (north complex) for right around $100K.

There will be more affordable units on the way in the near future as well.

Steve
05-09-2008, 11:11 AM
Yes.

Midtowner
05-09-2008, 11:19 AM
800 square feet for $180K is hardly "affordable."

johnnyincog
05-09-2008, 12:55 PM
what is wrong with this?

Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op - Oklahoma City, OK, 73102 - Realtor.com (http://www.realtor.com/realestate/oklahoma+city-ok-73102-1099126774/)

solitude
05-09-2008, 01:16 PM
what is wrong with this?

Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op - Oklahoma City, OK, 73102 - Realtor.com (http://www.realtor.com/realestate/oklahoma+city-ok-73102-1099126774/)

Sycamore Square? It's an old McKinley Property-like 1970's style suburban apartment complex dropped into downtown.
That's hardly urban living.

I'm with Midtowner on the Lofts at Maywood - 800 Square Feet for $180,000.00 - in Oklahoma City???

Kerry
05-09-2008, 01:43 PM
Yes.

Care to elaborate?

Pete
05-09-2008, 01:50 PM
You want affordable, there are going to be trade-offs.

Welcome to the world of urban real estate!

The Old Downtown Guy
05-09-2008, 01:55 PM
what is wrong with this?

Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op - Oklahoma City, OK, 73102 - Realtor.com (http://www.realtor.com/realestate/oklahoma+city-ok-73102-1099126774/)

Sycamore Square is a suburban design plopped down in the middle of downtown OKC. All of the living spaces face into a dark poorly maintained courtyard. Maintainence on the whole complex (at least the north condo part, I've not been to the south rental part in years) is pathetic. The prices are still pretty reasonable, if you just need somewhere to sleep and keep your clothes

OU Adonis
05-09-2008, 01:57 PM
Sycamore Square is a suburban design plopped down in the middle of downtown OKC. All of the living spaces face into a dark poorly maintained courtyard. Maintainence on the whole complex (at least the north condo part, I've not been to the south rental part in years) is pathetic. The prices are still pretty reasonable, if you just need somewhere to sleep and keep your clothes


Well Pete we always talk about getting more bodies downtown. To me that means you need to have homes where people who make 50k a year can live there. There is a whole lot more people that make 40 - 60k a year vs 70-100k a year in OKC.

The Old Downtown Guy
05-09-2008, 01:57 PM
Yes.

I agree with Steve.

johnnyincog
05-09-2008, 02:24 PM
an important question to ask is what do people consider affordable? my best guess is that any new construction in the dowtown area (midtown/AA) advertised as affordable would at the very least still be in the $125 sq/ft range. ie. 900 sq ft 2/1 for $115k. would that be reasonable?

autoMATTic
05-09-2008, 02:32 PM
Well Pete we always talk about getting more bodies downtown. To me that means you need to have homes where people who make 50k a year can live there. There is a whole lot more people that make 40 - 60k a year vs 70-100k a year in OKC.

... and even 70-100k per year is not enough. These places are super-expensive. I want to own my home. I dont want my home to own me.

I want to have money left over and be able to enjoy the benefits of my surroundings and not just look at them through my thousand dollar windows.

Do the math on these places. Average 30 year note on a 300k home aint cheap.

Midtowner
05-09-2008, 02:34 PM
an important question to ask is what do people consider affordable? my best guess is that any new construction in the dowtown area (midtown/AA) advertised as affordable would at the very least still be in the $125 sq/ft range. ie. 900 sq ft 2/1 for $115k. would that be reasonable?

$125 I could live with. $225 is the norm though.

solitude
05-09-2008, 03:38 PM
Everyone seems to throw in the old "urban real estate" excuse as a reason to accept astronomical prices for downtown living. "Free market" is thrown around a lot. How does that square with the fact that downtown has been revitalized - in large part - by public money? Federal dollars to rebuild after 4-18-95, MAPS, other urban grants. This created the possibility for developers to even want to consider downtown as a place to develop urban housing. But now, after our tax dollars have created the new market -- all of a sudden we hear about the "Free Market," and the invisible hand nonsense. The invisible hand isn't so invisible - it's called tax dollars, public money that made it all possible to do what? Build housing for the rich.

As I've said before, it's all become nothing more than, "Nichols Hills South."

Some things never change.

For example, it's only a matter of minutes before one our rightwing posters will show up to ask what I have "against the rich" - simply for telling it like it is. I have nothing against the rich. I have a lot against the rich who use government to capitalize their business, develop their playground and then get richer selling to -- the rich. While everyone else is locked out of the newest enclave of wealthy homes. There will be no real urban vibe as long as the richest of our citizens buy up downtown so they can play city. Some even using downtown as a second home so they can retreat to their suburban McMansions when their faux urban life tires.

OUGrad05
05-09-2008, 09:40 PM
Everyone seems to throw in the old "urban real estate" excuse as a reason to accept astronomical prices for downtown living. "Free market" is thrown around a lot. How does that square with the fact that downtown has been revitalized - in large part - by public money? Federal dollars to rebuild after 4-18-95, MAPS, other urban grants. This created the possibility for developers to even want to consider downtown as a place to develop urban housing. But now, after our tax dollars have created the new market -- all of a sudden we hear about the "Free Market," and the invisible hand nonsense. The invisible hand isn't so invisible - it's called tax dollars, public money that made it all possible to do what? Build housing for the rich.

As I've said before, it's all become nothing more than, "Nichols Hills South."

Some things never change.

For example, it's only a matter of minutes before one our rightwing posters will show up to ask what I have "against the rich" - simply for telling it like it is. I have nothing against the rich. I have a lot against the rich who use government to capitalize their business, develop their playground and then get richer selling to -- the rich. While everyone else is locked out of the newest enclave of wealthy homes. There will be no real urban vibe as long as the richest of our citizens buy up downtown so they can play city. Some even using downtown as a second home so they can retreat to their suburban McMansions when their faux urban life tires.
If people dont want to pay the prices they will be forced to lower their price, they wont sit on an empty building for long. I tend to agree that the prices are too high for OKC and I would guess that if they do sell right now in 3 to 5 years they'll be the same price and that owners will see little or no appreciation in the near future on downtown condo's. But thats just my thoughts on it...obviously someone at this point is buying it...but they could easily overbuild the absorbtion rates and collapse prices (happened in Miami, Dallas, LA, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Fran and a whole host of other cities...

solitude
05-09-2008, 10:03 PM
]If people dont want to pay the prices they will be forced to lower their price[/b], they wont sit on an empty building for long. I tend to agree that the prices are too high for OKC and I would guess that if they do sell right now in 3 to 5 years they'll be the same price and that owners will see little or no appreciation in the near future on downtown condo's. But thats just my thoughts on it...obviously someone at this point is buying it...but they could easily overbuild the absorbtion rates and collapse prices (happened in Miami, Dallas, LA, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Fran and a whole host of other cities...

But that's my point. They ARE selling at those prices - to the rich who want to "play city," in a downtown improved by taxpayers.

OUGrad05
05-09-2008, 10:06 PM
But that's my point. They ARE selling at those prices - to the rich who want to "play city," in a downtown improved by taxpayers.

So if the rich want to overpay for housing who cares? Also being able to afford a 200k property doesn't make you rich...it pretty much makes you middle class or upper middle class if you're younger...

I dont really see what the problem is, I agree with you its overpriced, and I think Midtown tulsa is overpriced so I didn't buy there. Prices correct if they are in fact bloated and in 3 to 5 years we'll know...in the meantime buy something cheaper or sit on the sidelines for downtown life and see what the market does.

Steve
05-09-2008, 10:07 PM
I wrote a column about the dynamics of pricing of the downtown housing and why it has started out with so much on the upscale side. I'll repost on my blog, OKC Central — All about downtown OKC (http://www.okccentral.com).

Kerry
05-09-2008, 10:20 PM
Solitude - are you familiar with publicly funded affordable housing for the poor? Take a look at the south side of Chicago for an example. You seem to think that only the poor people are paying taxes. I can tell you that I pay a hell of a lot more taxes than the average person and I am not getting any tax rebate from Bush. Enjoy your $1200 tax rebate at my expense.

Midtowner
05-09-2008, 10:24 PM
I don't think he's talking about the poor.

A young couple who makes $75,000 should be able to afford a 1500 sq. ft. place in downtown Oklahoma City. The trouble is, such a property will on average set them back $337,500.

Good luck building a downtown critical mass a $225/sq. ft.

Kerry
05-09-2008, 10:26 PM
Why should they be able to afford it? Do you remember what a plasma tv cost about 5 years ago? Compare that to todays prices. Downtown housing is still a huge risk for the developers. When the market become stable and self sufficient then prices will start to come down.

Midtowner
05-09-2008, 10:40 PM
What risk is there when they are being heavily subsidized with TIFF money?

Is the risk that their profit will be high versus ridiculous?

centaurian
05-09-2008, 11:50 PM
uh the answer is the same 3 years later, a big simple


NO

solitude
05-10-2008, 12:11 AM
Solitude - are you familiar with publicly funded affordable housing for the poor? Take a look at the south side of Chicago for an example. You seem to think that only the poor people are paying taxes. I can tell you that I pay a hell of a lot more taxes than the average person and I am not getting any tax rebate from Bush. Enjoy your $1200 tax rebate at my expense.

That's funny - you assume I'm getting one because some might consider me a liberal (actually, politically, nobody can put me in a labled box). FYI - I am not getting a rebate.

What do publicly funded housing projects have to do with what I posted?

And Mid's right - TIF, MAPS, $54 Million from the feds, who the hell do you think paid to make downtown Oklahoma City a place where developers would want to be in the first place? Maybe they do things differently in Jacksonville. I wouldn't know as, unlike you, I have chosen to live in Oklahoma City ---- I'm not blowing my horn from 1100 miles away.

OUGrad05
05-10-2008, 05:52 AM
That's funny - you assume I'm getting one because some might consider me a liberal (actually, politically, nobody can put me in a labled box). FYI - I am not getting a rebate.

What do publicly funded housing projects have to do with what I posted?

And Mid's right - TIF, MAPS, $54 Million from the feds, who the hell do you think paid to make downtown Oklahoma City a place where developers would want to be in the first place? Maybe they do things differently in Jacksonville. I wouldn't know as, unlike you, I have chosen to live in Oklahoma City ---- I'm not blowing my horn from 1100 miles away.

You're not getting a rebate? That means one of two things you either made little or NO money, which means you can't afford anything muchless a property downtown or you made a **** ton of money compared with the normal worker in this country and coming up with 200k for a home should be fairly easy if thats the case. :dunno:

betts
05-10-2008, 05:57 AM
Is there truly affordable housing immediately adjacent to downtowns of most major cities that isn't rental housing? I'm just posing this question because I don't know the answer. Location in and of itself has value, and it's not surprising to me that housing immediately adjacent to Bricktown is more expensive. When our new central park is built, I expect housing immediately adjacent to it to be unaffordable for most of us (me) for that very reason. I would expect prices to drop as you move away from Bricktown and the CBD, and perhaps the undeveloped land from 5th to 10th will serve as a location where housing can be more affordable. Developers also have to know there is a demand, so perhaps people who want this sort of housing need to be contacting Mr. Berlanger asking him to consider lower cost housing, or the city asking them to promote this concept to developers.

icemncmth
05-10-2008, 06:23 AM
I think the interesting thing is the Brownstones start at $600,000...I went with a friend who was interested in buying one and like everyone else looking that day was really fired up after looking at a the show homes..As we were driving away I started asking him questions like....Do you think these brownstones will keep their value?..

Or how much does it cost to fix the elevators in them..or do they have to be inspected every year and how much does that cost?..I kept asking him questions and in the end he wasn't so fired up...

The brownstones are very nice but. they are not worth 600,000+ and most of them will cost more that that because the cost of building materials is going up..

Now comes the interesting thing...they are building this community and most haven't been built.....

So will they be able to build and sell all of the homes and will they all be over half million or will they sell a few high dollar units and then have to build cheaper models? If they do build cheaper units will that drive the value of the expensive units down....

The problem I see with the urban community downtown is the average income in OKC isn't that high...and these and other units are being built for people on the high end of the income scale.

I guess we could do what they do in a lot of other areas..take a interest only loan on the place!

Pete
05-10-2008, 07:12 AM
I believe the one area where citizens have a legitimate gripe about city leadership and the price of downtown housing involves -- suprise! -- OCURA.

They have consistently selected expensive, exclusive developments for their city-owned property when more affordable (and most would say desirable) developments were proposed.

Overholser Green is the latest example but The Hill is also notable in this regard. In each case, there were respected developers proposing far more affordable housing units yet OCURA chose the developments that catered to the rich.

But besides that, we have little choice but to let market forces work themselves out. Sure, there has been tax-payer money poured into downtown but unless you want to start regulating office rental and hotel rates and restaurant and entertainment prices too (these segments have also directly benefited), you just have to stand back now and let developers and buyers do their thing.

My personal opinion is that the high-end is probably already saturated and that you'll start to see more developments that cater to a wider audience. However, I think the more affordable units are going to be smaller and per square foot prices are going to stay pretty high.

johnnyincog
05-10-2008, 08:59 AM
The brownstones are very nice but. they are not worth 600,000+ and most of them will cost more that that because the cost of building materials is going up..

Now comes the interesting thing...they are building this community and most haven't been built.....

So will they be able to build and sell all of the homes and will they all be over half million or will they sell a few high dollar units and then have to build cheaper models? If they do build cheaper units will that drive the value of the expensive units down....



the brownstones are priced around $225/sq ft. it's very expensive for a lot of people. but there is a lot of money in the town and if energy prices don't tank. that number will only grow. as far as comps, the good location homes in nichols hills list anywhere from $200-300/sq ft now and there doesn't seem to be a problem finding buyers. closer to downtown, the nicer homes in heritage hills are approaching $200/sq ft. so it's not like downtown is this anomaly in the okc real estate market. there are other places in the city with similar prices.

bornhere
05-10-2008, 09:16 AM
That means one of two things you either made little or NO money, which means you can't afford anything muchless a property downtown or you made a **** ton of money compared with the normal worker in this country and coming up with 200k for a home should be fairly easy if thats the case.

Another possibility is that solitude, like me, has some concern about people outside his or her own socioeconomic class. I don't think I'll get a rebate, either.

I won't move downtown because I'd rather live a little further out in one of the older residential neighborhoods, which is where I am now.

Moreover, just because I could afford (barely) to live downtown doesn't mean that I believe the taxpayers are obliged to support me or subsidize my lifestyle or personal interests.

OUGrad05
05-10-2008, 09:18 AM
Another possibility is that solitude, like me, has some concern about people outside his or her own socioeconomic class. I don't think I'll get a rebate, either.

I won't move downtown because I'd rather live a little further out in one of the older residential neighborhoods, which is where I am now.

Moreover, just because I could afford (barely) to live downtown doesn't mean that I believe the taxpayers are obliged to support me or subsidize my lifestyle or personal interests.

umm the tax payers aren't subsidizing the apartments, the tax payers subsidized the general infrasctructure funding downtown but they're not paying the mortgages for these people...

Midtowner
05-10-2008, 09:21 AM
umm the tax payers aren't subsidizing the apartments, the tax payers subsidized the general infrasctructure funding downtown but they're not paying the mortgages for these people...

In most developments, the developers pay for the improvements to the infrastructure, then pass those costs on. So yes, in effect, we are subsidizing the mortgages for OKC's richest.

loulang2000
05-10-2008, 10:21 AM
Downtown housing while a fantastic idea, has, IMHO been executed in the wrong way. Some very high end prices, such as for top floors might be ok. But the majority of the units being offered arenít nearly worth what theyíre being charged for. 225/sft or higher is ridiculous when the developer, contractor spent half that per square foot. Additionally, have they thought about whom they want in downtown? At these prices, whom are they attracting? Who can afford those prices? The older population who may not be as likely to go out and spend money in their neighborhood? Corporations who use these units for their out of towners, which leaves the units empty part of the time? I see those wanting to live downtown and would be part of making it a vibrant energetic, and profitable place would be late 20ís & 30ís singles, divorced professionals, working couples who are likely to patronize the shops, restaurants, bars, social venues. Iím a young professional myself and making well into the 6 figures and let me tell you, I cannot afford downtown housing. That is, and still be fiscally responsible.

OUGrad05
05-10-2008, 10:52 AM
In most developments, the developers pay for the improvements to the infrastructure, then pass those costs on. So yes, in effect, we are subsidizing the mortgages for OKC's richest.

The developers are paying for their own building improvements and construction. Developers rarely pay for road/river improvements in downtown areas because the initial costs are too great.

Midtowner
05-10-2008, 10:56 AM
The costs are substantially similar to that which occurs in many subdivisions in Edmond -- and Edmond developers aren't charging nearly the premium (although they are still turning a substantial profit).

If someone can sell a property at $225 to $300/sq.ft., they are making more than enough profit to pay for those improvements themselves, pass the costs on to the buyers at those prices and still make out with a substantial profit.

Check out what you can get in downtown Kansas City for $119,000.

Kansas City Lofts :: 21 Ten Lofts (http://www.kc-lofts.com/bldgs/21ten.htm)

Those sorts of 730 sq. ft properties in OKC would be going for $165,000 or so. The location would not be nearly as urban either. It's sort of hard to justify these prices, especially when you start to compare to far more urban environments with better views, etc.

veritas
05-10-2008, 10:58 AM
In most developments, the developers pay for the improvements to the infrastructure, then pass those costs on. So yes, in effect, we are subsidizing the mortgages for OKC's richest.

Using that logic, then, we shouldn't ever allow developers to develop nice communities because they tie into the same sewer system used by the masses? As an affordable housing developer myself, I can tell you that the system is built on a give/take relationship.

Yes, the City assumes care for the infrastructure. However, the economic footprint left by the new tax revenue far outweighs the cost of care and maintenance. You could (using some twisted logic) argue that you ONLY wanted rich developments because of the increased buying power adding more profitability to the City.

Obviously this wouldn't work because a city needs a mix of both. But to label deeding of improvements as a subsidy constitutes a misrepresentation of the nature of the relationship between cities and developers.

OUGrad05
05-10-2008, 11:10 AM
The costs are substantially similar to that which occurs in many subdivisions in Edmond -- and Edmond developers aren't charging nearly the premium (although they are still turning a substantial profit).

If someone can sell a property at $225 to $300/sq.ft., they are making more than enough profit to pay for those improvements themselves, pass the costs on to the buyers at those prices and still make out with a substantial profit.

Check out what you can get in downtown Kansas City for $119,000.

Kansas City Lofts :: 21 Ten Lofts (http://www.kc-lofts.com/bldgs/21ten.htm)

Those sorts of 730 sq. ft properties in OKC would be going for $165,000 or so. The location would not be nearly as urban either. It's sort of hard to justify these prices, especially when you start to compare to far more urban environments with better views, etc.

Well I agree the prices are too high but people are paying them so that really means they aren't too high. That doesn't mean the people buying are being rational (I dont think they are) but if prices were too high the condo's/apartments would be sitting oon the market vacant.

pearlbluevtx
05-10-2008, 11:12 AM
It's definitely the intention for the developer to make money - they have too.

I'd say where TIF financing was involved then you would see some of these developments not even happen ... then we'd all be complaining about no developments taking place and why can't they develop these urban areas. Also, if there were no help, if you think the prices are too pricey, they'd be higher because the developer would have to pass on those costs. And, I bet if you could see the books, their margins are probably not that high right now and I bet they all either have really deep pockets to keep investing OR they are borrowing a lot of $s out there to keep this up = risk!

On the other hand, I don't really like having the government(=us/taxes) paying for these things either. There has to be a balance though and there's competition so if the government(ie - City) wants to see growth, nba, etc, they have to compete too - which then allows developers to try and make some of these old, ratty, non-producing/worthless properties into something that can produce (or that is the goal) property taxes, sales tax revenue(retail) etc. It's a long-term vision ... deals have to look long-term.

I agree, it seems like all of them are fairly pricey. I'm pretty familiar with the Brownstones and from a end-product, they are very very nice. ICF walls, etc - (ie, concrete walls, insulated, reinforced with rebar) - that is a higher cost to build and I would want those versus any of the steel/wood stick framing as I think it will last longer, hold up.

Personally, I go back to letting the "markets" work this out ... if no one buys, prices should go down. If they sell out and inventory is moving, prices will stay same. Eventually, it sounds like the goal is to have a good mix of people in various economic stages and I bet over the long-term, it should pan out.

Interesting discussion.

BabyBoomerSooner
05-10-2008, 11:21 AM
I understand that the developers want to and should make money on this deal. However, it almost seems as if they're pricing things at a level that will ensure an elite level of tenant.

kevinpate
05-10-2008, 11:22 AM
well, the elite gotta live and eat too. :)

Midtowner
05-10-2008, 11:29 AM
Well I agree the prices are too high but people are paying them so that really means they aren't too high. That doesn't mean the people buying are being rational (I dont think they are) but if prices were too high the condo's/apartments would be sitting oon the market vacant.

That's the argument -- unless developers intentionally build out slow and manipulate supply, they won't be able to get these sorts of prices, especially when a resale market emerges -- that's what you have in Kansas City. They've had urban living for a long, long time. Their prices, to live in better built locations with better views than anything you'll find in OKC are generally lower. It's a fairly comparable market. Their MSA population exceeds ours by about 500,000.

I agree that folks aren't being rational and that builders should be able to charge whatever they can get, but if they're getting that sort of money while making a better profit than they would in the 'burbs where they have to pay for infrastructure, why should they be getting TIF money at all -- especially when they're getting this land on the cheap from OCURA?

The city is footing a bill for a substantial part of these projects. If these were properties which would be generating sales tax, I *might* understand, but these are ordinary residences. Spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars for the benefit of a few of the wealthiest in the city in their private capacity where that investment is probably not necessary seems foolish to me.

I'm going to be wealthy enough (God willing) within the next 10 years or so to be able to afford these sorts of properties. I still won't buy unless I find that the rates are substantially reasonable. I think there's a limited market for the early adopter/emotional buyers out there. I think that'll dry up quick. Once developers have to start competing with resellers, we'll see a drop in price. The developers will continue to make a profit, but when some of these early buyers find out they have negative equity in their homes, they probably won't be too thrilled.

Steve
05-10-2008, 12:13 PM
I've now posted a column I did one year ago on my blog at OKC Central — All about downtown OKC (http://www.okccentral.com). I'm aware of at least two to three housing projects coming up that may be closer to what might be considered "affordable" housing.
-Steve

betts
05-10-2008, 12:18 PM
I think the interesting thing is the Brownstones start at $600,000...I went with a friend who was interested in buying one and like everyone else looking that day was really fired up after looking at a the show homes..As we were driving away I started asking him questions like....Do you think these brownstones will keep their value?..

Or how much does it cost to fix the elevators in them..or do they have to be inspected every year and how much does that cost?..I kept asking him questions and in the end he wasn't so fired up...

The brownstones are very nice but. they are not worth 600,000+ and most of them will cost more that that because the cost of building materials is going up..

Now comes the interesting thing...they are building this community and most haven't been built.....

So will they be able to build and sell all of the homes and will they all be over half million or will they sell a few high dollar units and then have to build cheaper models? If they do build cheaper units will that drive the value of the expensive units down....

The problem I see with the urban community downtown is the average income in OKC isn't that high...and these and other units are being built for people on the high end of the income scale.

I guess we could do what they do in a lot of other areas..take a interest only loan on the place!

There is an elevator maintenance contract you can purchase for about $500 a year, or you can simply pay for an inspector to come out once a year and inspect the elevator for even less (I checked on this). I was told that residential elevators are rarely a maintenance problem because of their low use. I calculated all the costs of maintenance on the brownstones, and they came out to far less than I am paying for my house in terms of yard maintenance, tree maintenance, painting, etc.

In addition, because of the build-block construction and heat pump, they're estimating utility costs will be about half of the usual amount for a house that size.

Do I think the brownstones will hold their value? How does anyone know the answer to that regarding any house nowadays? If downtown development continues as it has been, then yes, I think they will keep their value. I think the movement of Sandridge downtown, the statement by Larry Nichols that Devon is going to increase employees, all of whom will work downtown, as well as the addition of retail and grocery store, pharmacy, potential improvement of mass transit, etc will increase the desirability of downtown living, which will at least ensure that homes there keep their value. If more people live downtown it may be more attractive for other businesses to relocate downtown.

If you look at how the brownstones are built, it's not surprising that they are as expensive as they are. How many of the houses in Edmond mentioned above have slate roofs, all brick construction,cast stone trim, copper guttering and 8 inch concrete and rebar exterior walls? Inside the floors are wood, all granite countertops, three fireplaces per townhowe. That kind of construction is expensive.

New things are always a bit of a gamble, but I like the idea of a gamble when everyone I talk to things it's an exciting idea. I've got multiple friends who are talking about moving downtown and several who are already there and love it. It would be really nice if there was housing for people of all income levels downtown, but this is a bit of a gamble for the developers as well, and they're probably just now figuring things out. When the Centennial was built, there weren't even any downtown comps for the appraisers to use, I was told. So, this is a learning process for everyone and hopefully developers interested in lower priced housing will figure this out.

bornhere
05-10-2008, 12:50 PM
Personally, I go back to letting the "markets" work this out

The "markets" were out of the picture once the city committed to building infrastructure.

So now the question is who will benefit from this public investment? Will it be all of us, or just those wealthy enough to pay top dollar for living quarters and the developers politically connected enough to get in on the projects?

solitude
05-10-2008, 01:42 PM
The "markets" were out of the picture once the city committed to building infrastructure.

So now the question is who will benefit from this public investment? Will it be all of us, or just those wealthy enough to pay top dollar for living quarters and the developers politically connected enough to get in on the projects?

You said it well, bornhere. I also liked your post several up where you pointed out that you don't have to be poor or middle class or wealthy or mega-rich to see things through a prism of right and wrong. I don't have to personally be able to afford or not afford a downtown condo to see what's going on here - and speak out about it. Not comparing myself to RFK, but when Bobby Kennedy toured Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta in 1968, he spoke out not because it affected him or the Kennedy family in any personal way, but because he felt a responsibility to speak out. Now, downtown OKC is not the Mississippi Delta - that's not my comparison - the comparison is that socioeconomic status for an individual doesn't have to translate into working only for policies which are best for him or her. To suggest otherwise, or even make that correlation, is a distinctly selfish way to observe our politics and culture. But one that, unfortunately, is pervasive in Oklahoma.

Midtowner mentioned one of Oklahoma's greatest ever public servants the other day: former Attorney General Jan Eric Cartwright. Working for him was one of my first good jobs and one that made a big impression on me - and I'll always be grateful. He once told me over a sandwich on the run something that sticks with me to this day, "It's not a matter of rich or poor, it's a matter of who is screwing who and the simple fact is - it's usually the former screwing everyone in between."

bornhere
05-10-2008, 02:30 PM
I remember how the Oklahoman used to vilify him on the front page for upending that racket Ed G and his buddies had for slipping their business properties off the tax rolls.

No more ringing endorsement could have been had than to be so loathed by the downtown Axis of Evil.

okiebadger
05-10-2008, 03:02 PM
"when Bobby Kennedy toured Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta in 1968, he spoke out not because it affected him or the Kennedy family in any personal way, but because he felt a responsibility to speak out. "

Not to mention that he was preparing his campaign for president? C'mon, don't you recognize a ready made campaign issue when you see one?

BoulderSooner
05-10-2008, 03:19 PM
the brownstones .. are a good deal at 225 per foot .. they are of a very high quality construction .. and I would love to live there.

icemncmth
05-10-2008, 03:38 PM
There is an elevator maintenance contract you can purchase for about $500 a year, or you can simply pay for an inspector to come out once a year and inspect the elevator for even less (I checked on this). I was told that residential elevators are rarely a maintenance problem because of their low use. I calculated all the costs of maintenance on the brownstones, and they came out to far less than I am paying for my house in terms of yard maintenance, tree maintenance, painting, etc.

In addition, because of the build-block construction and heat pump, they're estimating utility costs will be about half of the usual amount for a house that size.

Do I think the brownstones will hold their value? How does anyone know the answer to that regarding any house nowadays? If downtown development continues as it has been, then yes, I think they will keep their value. I think the movement of Sandridge downtown, the statement by Larry Nichols that Devon is going to increase employees, all of whom will work downtown, as well as the addition of retail and grocery store, pharmacy, potential improvement of mass transit, etc will increase the desirability of downtown living, which will at least ensure that homes there keep their value. If more people live downtown it may be more attractive for other businesses to relocate downtown.

If you look at how the brownstones are built, it's not surprising that they are as expensive as they are. How many of the houses in Edmond mentioned above have slate roofs, all brick construction,cast stone trim, copper guttering and 8 inch concrete and rebar exterior walls? Inside the floors are wood, all granite countertops, three fireplaces per townhowe. That kind of construction is expensive.

New things are always a bit of a gamble, but I like the idea of a gamble when everyone I talk to things it's an exciting idea. I've got multiple friends who are talking about moving downtown and several who are already there and love it. It would be really nice if there was housing for people of all income levels downtown, but this is a bit of a gamble for the developers as well, and they're probably just now figuring things out. When the Centennial was built, there weren't even any downtown comps for the appraisers to use, I was told. So, this is a learning process for everyone and hopefully developers interested in lower priced housing will figure this out.

I use to work on large equipment ..including elevators...and the lack of use isn't a good thing..

I grew up in the DC area and urban living has been in that area for a while...A lot of the older places that do have elevators don't sell as well because most aren't working. As for the 500 bucks a year..that will last only as long as they are working. Once the elevators start having problems the price will go up. It isn't like calling a plumber to come out and fix a leak. My point to my friend was to look down the road a few years...Upkeep can become a big issue and just look around OKC...

Another thing about urban living is pollution...This will take a greater toll on the housing than living in the rural. The one thing that made me laugh was that some of the brownstones have outside decks....They are nice right now but if the downtown are becomes the place to live and play the traffic will increase and so will the smog...If you go to Alexandria VA and and visit the Town homes that have been their a long time the ones that really sell are the one's with a small back yard. Urban living with a little green. I have friends that live in places somewhat like the brownstones and some of them have upper outside decks..and they hardly get used.

I think they are a great idea and living in them would be fun..but to plop down a million bucks is a big gamble..Downtown is growing but will downtown explode? Will stores pop up all over the place..? Heck there isn't enough parking now. Just think how fun it will be if we all move downtown...

I hope they work but I would be willing to bet that most of the people working at Devon can't afford million dollar house.

mecarr
05-10-2008, 11:38 PM
what is wrong with this?

Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op - Oklahoma City, OK, 73102 - Realtor.com (http://www.realtor.com/realestate/oklahoma+city-ok-73102-1099126774/)

Sycamore Square, while it is in downtown, is just plain nasty looking in my opinion, although I'm sure it'd be okay to live in.

SouthsideGirl
05-11-2008, 10:39 AM
I went to a presentation about a year ago where someone from Downtown OKC spoke. I asked this very question. He said they have to build the higher end homes, then build the moderate end ones as sort of a mixed development. I'm hoping they start developing some condos for moderate, single-income professionals. I'd love to live down there, but right now I just can't afford it.

betts
05-11-2008, 10:48 AM
I use to work on large equipment ..including elevators...and the lack of use isn't a good thing..

I grew up in the DC area and urban living has been in that area for a while...A lot of the older places that do have elevators don't sell as well because most aren't working. As for the 500 bucks a year..that will last only as long as they are working. Once the elevators start having problems the price will go up. It isn't like calling a plumber to come out and fix a leak. My point to my friend was to look down the road a few years...Upkeep can become a big issue and just look around OKC...

Another thing about urban living is pollution...This will take a greater toll on the housing than living in the rural. The one thing that made me laugh was that some of the brownstones have outside decks....They are nice right now but if the downtown are becomes the place to live and play the traffic will increase and so will the smog...If you go to Alexandria VA and and visit the Town homes that have been their a long time the ones that really sell are the one's with a small back yard. Urban living with a little green. I have friends that live in places somewhat like the brownstones and some of them have upper outside decks..and they hardly get used.

I think they are a great idea and living in them would be fun..but to plop down a million bucks is a big gamble..Downtown is growing but will downtown explode? Will stores pop up all over the place..? Heck there isn't enough parking now. Just think how fun it will be if we all move downtown...

I hope they work but I would be willing to bet that most of the people working at Devon can't afford million dollar house.

I don't think pollution is anymore an issue with the brownstones than any of the other townhouses downtown, and it is an issue with any urban living, OKC less than some other cities like Denver, LA. You may be right about the elevators, but there are other issues that are not a concern because of the way they're built. Slate roofs are less maintenance than wood or composition, all brick has no painting issuess, utility costs will be significantly lower and I've spent enough money in cutting down trees from the ice storm and wind storms the last two years to pay for a couple of elevators. Were it me, I'd just tuck some of the money I'd be saving on lawn care and tree maintenance away to pay for any elevator problems down the line.

The most expensive of the townhouses downtown are not a million dollars, and for their size and the types of materials used, they're cheaper than what you can buy in the pricier parts of town. The Maywood brownstones start in the high 500's for the smaller ones.

Of course it's a bit of a gamble, but personally, since I'm thinking about a fairly permanent residence, I'd rather they not appreciate significantly. Appreciation is only good if you plan on selling. If not, your insurance and property taxes keep going up, and yet you're living in the same house. So, if they don't appreciate signficantlly, it's fine with me.

flintysooner
05-11-2008, 01:08 PM
The brownstones are now priced in the near replacement cost range which means there is not much premium for location. The TIF probably neutralized the infrastructure premium cost. The development is purposely designed to accommodate slow growth and it is also designed to be a community.

At the size and price of the brownstones there is already a limited potential buyer universe in the first place.

If someone wants the location and quality of the brownstones there is not much competition.

As for price competition, both now and future, these units are not opposed to suburban markets. The risk it seems to me is more towards whether or not the downtown city will continue to develop. If one believes so then there is not much risk and probably a significant upside in appreciation.

On the other hand if one believes the city core development will stall or even end then neither the brownstones nor any other core properties are attractive investments.

Pete
05-25-2008, 02:54 PM
Just wanted to provide some more information, particularly about Sycamore Square.

Several people have really slammed it on this thread but the prices in the north complex (the south buildings are all apartments) have gone up about 50% in just the last few years.

The unit that was referenced in this thread was under contract in just a few weeks.

I was told by the realtor that the homeowners association there have some pretty big plans to get the exterior in shape, add landscaping etc. From the photos she sent me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that complex. People might not like the "suburban feel" but it's similar to the Legacy right next door and you can own instead of rent. And seems like the Legacy is doing pretty well.

The fact is, you can still buy a 1,400 square foot unit in that complex for about $100K and IMO that represents a great option for those that want a decent amount of space and don't have a lot of money to spend.

Watch and see: those places are going to continue to appreciate because they are reasonable priced and well-located.

If I was a younger people looking to get a toe-hold in downtown and wanted to own my place, I would be keeping a sharp eye out for anything that comes up for sale there.