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OKC Affordable housing crisis looms?

Ian Colgan was a real buzz buster at the otherwise celebratory Mayor's Development Roundtable last week, presenting a sobering but necessary housing reality check on all the good Oklahoma City has going for it.

Housing affordability has been a key strength of the city's renaissance, but we're losing it.

Rising costs are hitting the working poor hard, and rising rents and house payments are eating away at the stats that earned the city its reputation as a great place for first-time homebuyers and renters, said Colgan, assistant executive director of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority.

Of the 50 biggest cities in the country, he said, Oklahoma City is the 32nd most expensive for homeownership and the 43rd most expensive for renting. So far, so good.

But rising rent, especially — 16th-fastest growth between 2000 and 2015 — will come back and bite first and hardest.

"Every city ahead of it is found on the East or West coasts. No Midwestern, Southern or Mountain West city's rental market grew faster than that of Oklahoma City, including Texas," Colgan said. "The situation is similar for homeownership cost, where growth ranks 20th in the nation. Only Austin and Fort Worth (Texas) had faster growth rates for non-coastal cities.

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