In a victory for home builders and housing affordability, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) has signed SB 1713 into law. The legislation will limit cities and counties from regulating purely aesthetic building design that would needlessly raise the cost of housing.
The Oklahoma Home Builders Association (OkHBA), along with the Oklahoma Realtors Association, the Affordable Housing Coalition and other trade groups and consumers, lobbied aggressively for this legislative remedy after some Oklahoma towns proposed residential design changes that would prohibit exterior finishes such as vinyl, wood and aluminum siding that are otherwise permitted under all editions of the International Residential Code. Other proposed changes such as roof pitch or front facing garages would collectively increase building costs and price entry-level buyers out of the market.
With Oklahoma and the rest of the nation already facing a housing affordability crisis, the OkHBA argued that the proposed standards are a form of exclusionary zoning that would increase housing costs and price out certain groups of prospective home owners from the housing market.
“The ability of persons from all economic segments to own a home is one of many reasons America is who we are,” said Oklahoma State Senator Kim David, the lead sponsor of the bill. “The commitment from home builders to defend property rights and continue to protect all Americans is why we were so pleased to work alongside OkHBA and pass legislation that will continue to uphold these ideas.”
Oklahoma State Rep. Ryan Martinez also noted the importance of being able to design a home of your choosing. “Building a new home is a special time in a family’s life,” he said. “That means that they would like to be involved in all parts of the building process, especially the design and aesthetics of their new home. If they can’t have the things that make them happy, then it’s just a house without the love of a home.”
Oklahoma home builder Curtis McCarty, president of the OkHBA, noted the legislation is particularly important for young families seeking to get a toe hold on the homeownership ladder.
“The issue of affordability really affects everyone, but especially first-time home buyers,” he said. “If we don’t find ways to keep housing affordable, we will eliminate a group of people that would like to be home buyers but end up renting.”
He added that passage of the bill “was a huge win for not only housing but the OkHBA. We came together as a group from all over the state and worked together for the betterment of our industry.”
“Cities and states might not be able to prevent the high product costs and rising interest rates that affect the housing industry nationwide, but fortunately they can prevent more costs that come from adding unnecessary design regulations to homes,” said builder M.J. Farzaneh with Home Creations.
For more information, contact Karl Eckhart at 800-368-5242 x8319