View Full Version : Buying Downtown



sdsooners
07-31-2008, 08:56 AM
I don't have any exciting news, but rather wanted to get everyones thoughts on something. My wife and I are seriously considering buying at either the Central Ave Villas or Lofts at Maywood. We don't have children yet but hope to soon, so we will probably grow out of what we can now afford in 5 years or so. I can accept paying $225/sf but am really worried about resale and app/depreciation in 5+ years with so much new construction at various price points. Anybody have any thought or reasons why I should/shouldn't be worried?

metro
07-31-2008, 09:02 AM
I live/own downtown for several years now and don't regret it. IMO you are buying a lifestyle. When did America become about buying a home for investment instead of buying a home to live in and have a lifestyle. I realize you can't loose money, but that's one reason we started having the housing bubbles is because all the banks catering to the wacky investors trying to make a "sweet flip". You may have enough room at Central Ave. Villas but Maywood Lofts are at a cheaper pricepoint, so they should at least maintain if not appreciate pretty well.

Here's also an article from today's Daily Oklahoman about buying downtown. If you go to the link, there is also a video.

Many finding change in lifestyle is excitingBy Heather Warlick
Staff Writer

Billy Garrett sold his home in the suburbs in 2005 because he wanted a more urban lifestyle. The former Edmond resident decided to buy a home at the Brownstones at Maywood Park. His family has business interests in the development of the area, and he knew a brownstone would be a good investment.

"I believe that Oklahoma City is going to be growing in leaps and bounds. It's going to take a little more time, but I wanted to get in on the ground floor before prices skyrocketed, he said.

Two months ago, he moved in to his new brownstone. Just blocks from Bricktown and downtown Oklahoma City, he has stunning views from his fourth-floor covered patio.

"I went to law school in New York City, and you can't find anything like this there, he said.

His brownstone is about 3,700 square feet, and he chose traditional colors and textures to finish the interior with earth-tone carpet, wood blinds, banisters and other accents. Granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms give the home a warm feel that contrasts sharply to the modern, minimalist styles found in most of the model homes in the new urban developments in Oklahoma City.

Since moving in to his brownstone, Garrett said he has enjoyed being so close to the restaurants in Bricktown, and he is excited about walking to NBA basketball games.

"One bad thing is that there's not a grocery store nearby, he said. Though his new home is near the railroad tracks, he said he can barely hear the train go by because his home is well-insulated against sound. That insulation also helps keep his heating and cooling bills low.

"It only cost about $150 to cool the place last month, and I keep it cold, he said.

Garrett's favorite room in the brownstone is the fourth-floor great room, which overlooks Bricktown and downtown Oklahoma City. He said he loves the feel of living downtown and doesn't mind not having a yard.

"That's great for me. The only drawback is I don't want to get a big dog in here. You know, I'd like a dog, he said.

Though the neighborhood is quiet now, construction workers are busy building what Garrett thinks eventually will be a bustling community.

"I want younger people to move down here, and I think it will happen, he said. "In Oklahoma City, people want to see something built first before they move down here and see how it's going to go. They don't want to jump in and be the first one. I'm a risk-taker, I guess. I saw this as a great investment opportunity, to be the first one down here.

NewsOK.tv (http://www.newsok.tv/?titleID=1701198791)

metro
07-31-2008, 09:34 AM
Garrett, I disagree with you. There are PLENTY of us young professionals taking a gamble on downtown, well before you came along. He failed to mention it's the upper crust who likes to wait and see before buying, instead of us young risk takers. Granted there are exceptions, but most of us younger folks moved downtown long before there was stuff to do and without hesitation.

Pete
07-31-2008, 10:06 AM
"One bad thing is that there's not a grocery store nearby,

I know we'd all love to see a full grocery store in downtown/midtown but there is a Safeway at 18th & Classen, which is less than two miles from the Brownstones. And of course, two more stores at 23 & Penn.

I seriously doubt that the majority of people that live in OKC travel less than 2 miles to shop for groceries. And in places like Edmond, it's often considerable farther.

I bet we'll see a small market of some type pop up in the Maywood Park area, as there will soon be hundreds of new units opening up.

LordGerald
07-31-2008, 10:11 AM
Follow the link from OKCBusiness.com for more info on living downtown...

OKCBusiness - Oklahoma City Business News (http://www.okcbusiness.com/industry_article.asp?aID=1240448.7615473.592891.20 91748.10164202.558&aID2=45598)

If you pick up the print version, there's a graphic chart which details the occupancy rate, price range, availability, et al.

Kerry
07-31-2008, 10:25 AM
I don't have any exciting news, but rather wanted to get everyones thoughts on something. My wife and I are seriously considering buying at either the Central Ave Villas or Lofts at Maywood. We don't have children yet but hope to soon, so we will probably grow out of what we can now afford in 5 years or so. I can accept paying $225/sf but am really worried about resale and app/depreciation in 5+ years with so much new construction at various price points. Anybody have any thought or reasons why I should/shouldn't be worried?

It doesn't matter what house you live in or where it is located - when you have kids you will outgrow it. Your resale concerns are valid but it will be just as risky no matter where you buy.

betts
07-31-2008, 10:27 AM
I'm moving to Maywood Park. I don't think resale in that many years will be a problem, because of the proximity of the Maywood area to the CBD and Bricktown. It's going to be difficult to get closer, and as the area fills in, it will become far more attractive.

sdokc
07-31-2008, 10:52 AM
I currently live (rent) in the downtown area and soon I'll be working here. And as a young professional, I'm very interested in the Maywood Lofts or Central Ave Villas due to their proximity and price points. I think there's certainly a risk but I don't think resale will be a problem since there are so many things going on in downtown/midtown (nba, housing/retail development, corporate office construction/relocation, etc). The hard decision for me is deciding which of the two I want to buy. But I think that is an entirely different topic altogether. :)

Pete
07-31-2008, 10:56 AM
betts, did you buy a Brownstone or one of the lofts?

OKCCrime
07-31-2008, 12:49 PM
At the risk of getting the urbanites in an uproar, you might want to look at the following statistics before plopping down 200k-400k on a 2 bedroom condo in downtown and instead think about a 3-bedroom home that you won't need to sell in 5 years. There are some nice ones in your price range in Mesta Park, Crown Heights, and Edgemere Park that are still just a bike ride away from downtown. Furthermore, if you go into a historic district, you're likely to see more appreciation and a greater sale price when/if you move out.

http://www.trulia.com/city_guide_matrix_graph_row.php?c=Oklahoma_City&s=OK&tp=vol
Twice as hard to sell a 2 bedroom compared to a 3 bedroom.

http://www.trulia.com/city_guide_matrix_graph_row.php?c=Oklahoma_City&s=OK&tp=ppsft
OKC has an avg of $75/ sq.ft. (compare to the $225 that you mention)

http://www.trulia.com/city_guide_matrix_graph_row.php?c=Oklahoma_City&s=OK&tp=msp
The more bedrooms the more appreciation in dollars....

Consider that you will pay approximately $14-28k in realtor's fees if you move out of a condo in 5 years... or save that amount if you move into a larger home now.

With respect to finding a buyer in 5 years, I can't see demand to buy a used condo going up given that there will likely be many more, newer condos available. This fact might negatively affect the amount of appreciation you are likely to see. However, there could be a big move towards 'urban' living given gas prices and all.. hard to tell what will happen in 5 years.

Maybe I'm missing something, but for young professionals who are expecting to have a family, a small downtown condo doesn't seem to be a smart move, at least not at those prices.

OKCMallen
07-31-2008, 01:04 PM
I don't think it is at all. People are wearing it as a badge of honor to move downtown first and pay those prices. I am cool with that- no big deal. But it simply doesn't seem to make financial sense at the moment.

Pete
07-31-2008, 01:12 PM
Crime, I've made similar points in the past. There are lots of affordable homes in those nearby neighborhoods.

However, if you are an empty nester or a young person just starting out, dealing with the headaches of an older home is probably not for you. Plus, the floorplans and amenities of those homes are very different than how most people want to live today.

If it was me, I'd be looking hard at University Park and the Mesta areas, but even as a very handy person that has done and paid for tons of remodeling projects, I know buying one of those homes would be a massive undertaking.

Plus, your utility bills will be exponentially higher.

OKCMallen
07-31-2008, 01:25 PM
.

However, if you are an empty nester or a young person just starting out, dealing with the headaches of an older home is probably not for you. Plus, the floorplans and amenities of those homes are very different than how most people want to live today.

I am a young person just starting out and am priced out of the market, but not for a three-bedroom house on 50th. I know we have lower-priced housing in the works...but between the high cost and questionable appreciation of the properties, ESP when the cheaper housing comes in, you just kind of have to wonder...

betts
07-31-2008, 01:28 PM
betts, did you buy a Brownstone or one of the lofts?

I bought a brownstone, unfinished, so I won't be moving in until this winter. I'm an about to be empty nester, and I want the fun of living downtown, along with the easy maintenance and lower utility costs of a townhouse. Our housing prices are so low compared with other cities, that I'm still not worried about price per square foot. There are plenty of places in OKC and Edmond where square foot prices are comparable or higher, regardless of what the local average is.

OKCCrime
07-31-2008, 01:46 PM
However, if you are a young person just starting out, dealing with the headaches of an older home is probably not for you.


To the contrary, when you are young and just starting out is exactly the time to buy an older home and fix it up yourself. When you are young, landscaping, repainting, and remodeling bathrooms are adventures that you can tackle yourself rather than hiring expensive contractors. Furthermore, when you are early in your career, and before starting a family, you will have proportionately more free time on your hands to do this work. Buying an older home when your career is hot and your family is growing is a recipe for a stress induced heart attack.

Buy an older home in good shape, fix it up in your free time when you are young, build a career, start a family, enjoy your home, your family, your job, retire, and then move downtown.

Welcome to Downtown, Oklahoma City, a premier empty nester / retirement community.

betts
07-31-2008, 01:53 PM
To the contrary, when you are young and just starting out is exactly the time to buy an older home and fix it up yourself. When you are young, landscaping, repainting, and remodeling bathrooms are adventures that you can tackle yourself rather than hiring expensive contractors. Furthermore, when you are early in your career, and before starting a family, you will have proportionately more free time on your hands to do this work. Buying an older home when your career is hot and your family is growing is a recipe for a stress induced heart attack.

Buy an older home in good shape, fix it up in your free time when you are young, build a career, start a family, enjoy your home, your family, your job, retire, and then move downtown.

Welcome to Downtown, Oklahoma City, a premier empty nester / retirement community.

Actually, the person who bought the townhouse next to mine is young, as is the person a few houses down, and I think they're both single. It's not an ideal place for anyone with a big family, but you could easily have one to two children in the larger Maywood Park brownstone. A very wealthy person, similar to what has been done many times in NYC could actually buy two brownstones and combine them for 5,000 to 7,000 square feet and raise a very large family. I doubt that will happen, but it's not an impossibility, and it would still cost less than a house of that size in Nichols Hills.

Pete
07-31-2008, 01:56 PM
To the contrary, when you are young and just starting out is exactly the time to buy an older home and fix it up yourself.

I assure you not everyone feels this way.

When you are starting out, you don't typically have a lawnmower, power tools and the experience to tackle such projects.

My first buy was a condo for exactly that reason -- and because I didn't want to be a slave to a home. As I got older, I acquired more tools and knowledge and now do most renovation work myself.


The point is there are thousands of single-family homes all over the metro but very few condos/townhouses in the central city. It's really one of the few segments of the OKC housing market where scarcity enters the equation, which is commonly found in other communities.

OKCCrime
07-31-2008, 02:05 PM
Actually, the person who bought the townhouse next to mine is young, as is the person a few houses down, and I think they're both single.

I'm honestly surprised. It's the rare young professional that can afford a 600k-800k brownstone. Old money must be involved.



A very wealthy person, ... could actually buy two brownstones and combine them for 5,000 to 7,000 square feet and raise a very large family.

At 1.6M + renovation costs, that would be quite the investment. Mr. Trump, any interest in starting a family in OKC? or better yet, maybe Howard Schultz would be interested - I hear he likes basketball.

betts
07-31-2008, 02:17 PM
At 1.6M + renovation costs, that would be quite the investment. Mr. Trump, any interest in starting a family in OKC? or better yet, maybe Howard Schultz would be interested - I hear he likes basketball.

Look at what the big houses are selling for in Nichols Hills and Edmond. I know of two recently that sold for over 2 million in Nichols Hills in the upper 5,000 to 6,000 square feet size range. There are definitely houses in that price range in Edmond and Gaillardia.

OKCMallen
07-31-2008, 02:26 PM
I assure you not everyone feels this way.

When you are starting out, you don't typically have a lawnmower, power tools and the experience to tackle such projects.

My first buy was a condo for exactly that reason -- and because I didn't want to be a slave to a home. As I got older, I acquired more tools and knowledge and now do most renovation work myself.


The point is there are thousands of single-family homes all over the metro but very few condos/townhouses in the central city. It's really one of the few segments of the OKC housing market where scarcity enters the equation, which is commonly found in other communities.

I'm with Pete. I have the free time and energy to do renovation, but I don't have the know-how and I don't have the accumulated tools, and moreover, I don't have the extra disposible income to go buy, say, a $500 piece of equipment everytime I need it. Makes serious renovations become difficult.

OKCCrime
07-31-2008, 02:31 PM
Look at what the big houses are selling for in Nichols Hills and Edmond. I know of two recently that sold for over 2 million in Nichols Hills in the upper 5,000 to 6,000 square feet size range.

Yeah, but consider SDSooners's poor kids...

At Maywood, they will go to Dunbar Elementary School where only 40% of students score satisfactory or above in reading on the State Criterion Reference Tests and only 58% for math. (School Demographics and Statistics) (http://www.okcps.org/PRE/School%20Pages/190_Dunbar.htm).

In Nichols Hills, they will go to Nichols Hills Elementary School where 93% of students score satisfactory or above in reading on the State Criterion Reference Tests and 92% for math. (School Demographics and Statistics) (http://www.okcps.org/PRE/School%20Pages/340_Nichols_Hills.htm).

Looks like those lower electric bills will be offset by much larger private school tuitions.

betts
07-31-2008, 03:00 PM
Those kids are already going to Westminster, Casady and Heritage rather than Nichols Hills elementary for the most part.

But, I think that one of the best things that could happen to OKC schools is to bring back an infusion of middle class and upper middle class families who have been accustomed to parental involvement and have higher expectations of teachers. A rising tide lifts all boats..... In addition, tax bases are improved with this kind of new construction downtown. I know all sorts of adults who went to public schools in OKC proper and got great educations, but that is because of the wide range of demographics in OKC schools atthat time. When there was a mass exodus of professionals and middle class families to Edmond and the other suburbs, it hurt our city schools. If we could reverse that trend, it would be great for everyone. I think private schools, while the education is good, are bad for kids because they live in the rarified air of people just like themselves. It's good for kids to go to school with other children with different ethnic and economic backgrounds, IMO.

soonerguru
07-31-2008, 03:14 PM
It's good for kids to go to school with other children with different ethnic and economic backgrounds, IMO.


I agree completely. That's why my wife and I are moving our daughter from a private school to a public school. I should add, though, that it is a public magnet school with great academics.

johnnyincog
07-31-2008, 10:03 PM
many people scoffed at the idea of the centennial selling for $300 sq/ft. there is currently a unit there listed for $400 sq/ft. its always impossible to predict the future of the economy, but i don't think as the market matures that people will lose money with good contruction in a prime area at $225 sq/ft. its ridiculous to use the avg price per sq ft in okc as comparison. these properties are in no way avg. they are premium and i think the market will support it.

Midtowner
07-31-2008, 10:47 PM
Maybe I'm missing something, but for young professionals who are expecting to have a family, a small downtown condo doesn't seem to be a smart move, at least not at those prices.

That's our problem. While we'd love to do it, we can't justify the price tag. This market seems more geared to empty-nester old professionals who actually have a lot of cash to dump on a home.

-- or trust fund babies.

JWil
07-31-2008, 11:42 PM
I love the thought of downtown living, but for those prices I could have a parcel of land in Edmond.

Architect2010
08-01-2008, 10:18 PM
Any school in the vicinity of downtown is probably going to benefit all of these new rooftops. Especially that new downtown school. The type of people moving in here are the types that are involved with school and make sure their kids get good educations. In all reality, it isn't the schools thats the problem. Its the kids. And all the factors they get distracted by instead of focusing on education.

I've been at student of OKCPS all my life. Lafayette, Webster, and now Southeast High (Magnet School for Technology). I'm one of the smartest kids at my school and thats saying something because Southeast is also a magnet school with really good grades. The point is, just because the schools may not be necessarily the nicest, they offer the same education. Its up to you to make sure your child doesn't make the wrong choices. I like the variety of my friends also. Its pretty even there, about 30 Black, 30 White, 36 Hispanic, and then Asian. Its good to put us in diversity. Better than going to a school of over 2000 kids that are all white and all come from the exact same background. (I'm white btw) It teaches you to be a more accepting person.

But one day, I'll buy downtown. Luckily I'm young so they might have some cheaper units out by the time I'm grown.

dismayed
08-03-2008, 09:14 PM
I just think downtown is over-priced. I know communities that are right on the beach or in old very dense downtowns that aren't priced that high. It just doesn't make sense to me.

OKCCrime
08-04-2008, 11:55 AM
sdsooners,

Now that you have had some feedback, what are your thoughts about moving downtown? Still a possibility?

taylor83
08-05-2008, 11:55 AM
I was considering purchasing a condo in downtown however after some more research (and reading this topic) I have been looking at some alternatives. Specifically I've found a handful of houses near downtown that are very reasonably priced, i.e., 119k - 169k. These are brand new or nearly new homes that have about 1700 - 2000 sq feet. I'm not familiar with the neighborhoods around here since I've only been here a few months but I believe the subdivision is called JFK. It must be some kind of renewal project because the new homes are mixed in with some older, smaller homes. Does anyone know about this area? It's near NE 4th and MLK.

sdsooners
08-05-2008, 12:57 PM
sdsooners,

Now that you have had some feedback, what are your thoughts about moving downtown? Still a possibility?

Thank you everyone for all the feedback. There was definitely a lot of good info and opinions...some I agree with and some I don't. Moving downtown is definitely still a possibility and in fact I met with the developers last week.

My biggest issue now is to figure out if I can handle losing 1000 sq.ft. of home and deal with some of the things I've grown accustomed to like a backyard for my dog, having a dining room and 2nd living room, etc. There is also a concern about many of the units being presold and not getting an ideal floor plan or downtown view. Schools don't concern me because I currently live in a historic district and am planning to send my kids to private school. Home value doesn't bother me as much after talking to some real estate professionals....plus I agree with the poster that says you should buy a house for the lifestyle, not as an investment.

I was surprised at all the responses about moving to Edmond. I think some people need to realize that while living in a downtown condo may not be for everyone, living in suburbia Edmond isn't for everyone either.

Steve
08-05-2008, 08:29 PM
Taylor, very interesting that you're considering JFK. I've covered this neighborhood since redevelopment began a few years ago. If you'd like, I'll email stories I've done to date.

OKCCrime
08-05-2008, 10:01 PM
you should buy a house for the lifestyle, not as an investment.

LOL :)

http://images.inmagine.com/168nwm/photodisc/pdv052/pdv052007.jpg

betts
08-05-2008, 11:10 PM
It depends on where you are in your life. If you've got a home you're going to keep indefinitely, then the return isn't as important. All homes generally appreciate, and it's hard to know what will drive the market. It's possible that if gasoline becomes more expensive and driving long distances less desirable, that homes a long way from the CBD or business centers will lose value. In a lot of cities, close in housing is becoming more popular than suburbia. That my happen here too. People who thought they knew they were going to get a great return on their investment two years ago in some cities may be disappointed in what the market is doing right now. So, to a certain extent, you have to choose lifestyle over investment, because of the uncertainty of any investment. Why live some where you dislike if you've not got a guarantee of a huge return?

OKCCrime
08-06-2008, 12:39 AM
you should buy a house for the lifestyle, not as an investment.

No


Why live some where you dislike if you've not got a guarantee of a huge return?

No


Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists

No!



Don't fall into the fallacy of a false dilemma. There are more than two options available.

Live in a house that you both like and is a good investment. :)

taylor83
08-06-2008, 09:03 AM
Taylor, very interesting that you're considering JFK. I've covered this neighborhood since redevelopment began a few years ago. If you'd like, I'll email stories I've done to date.

That would be great Steve. Thank you!

betts
08-06-2008, 09:44 AM
the fallacy of a false dilemma. There are more than two options available.

Live in a house that you both like and is a good investment. :)

My point is that you don't always know. My son bought a house in Jacksonville, in a neighborhood that was appreciating at 20% a year. He loves the house, luckily, because guess what......no more 20% appreciation.

I wasn't saying you should necessarily buy a house that isn't a good investment simply because you love it, but if there's uncertainty in the real estate market, and there is, you should make sure you love the house and hope it's a good investment.

Were gas to go as high as $8 a gallon, which is not an impossibility, people who think they have a great investment out in the burbs may find they don't have so many takers on that great investment. In that situation, housing prices closer to where people work may be the ones appreciating rapidly, especially if there's a limited supply. The answer is that we simply cannot forsee much more than the immediate future as far as housing values goes.

Now, for me, I'm willing to take a chance on downtown. It's a lifestyle I want, and I'm not looking at it to support me when I'm ready to retire. I'll use other things for that. I've had the far out acreage and hated it, had the big yard with a pool and am tired of the upkeep. Having an energy efficient, liveable space that is close to a lot of the things I can enjoy appeals to me. We walked to Bricktown on the fourth of July for fireworks, and walked to a Redhawks game. I like the idea of walking to NBA games, and talking a stroll to the Art Museum for Sunday Brunch, with a cruise through the Myriad Gardens. Personally, I'd be happier if my investment didn't appreciate too rapidly, because that will keep my insurance and property taxes from appreciating rapidly as well. But, if it does, I'll live with it.