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An 8 month housing assessment was conducted in Edmond. What does the data and resarch tell us about Edmond’s housing needs?


Edmond Housing drives economy & community forward

Tue, Sep 12, 2023

Editor’s Note: Edmond attorney Todd A. McKinnis  is this week’s guest columnist for publisher Ray Hibbard. 

By Todd A. McKinnis, 


As has been reported in this publication and many other places, the City of Edmond recently received the results of an extensive housing assessment, which was an inventory of current housing options at various price points, along with many interesting statistics regarding the Edmond community as well as its workforce’s current housing options and future expected needs. 


There were several interesting statistics regard-ing Edmond’s current housing options as well as specific findings that came from the assessment.  Over the last ten years, 94% of all housing approved in the City of Edmond has been single fam-ily detached homes. The average price of a new home in Edmond is currently in excess of $420,000. The median home value in Edmond is $282,000. The median household size in Edmond is 2.6 people. Nearly 75% of all workers employed in Edmond live outside Edmond. Over the next 10 years, it is estimated that Edmond will require 8,900 new homes to support its growth. That is double the number of the historical average. Finally, over 50% of the expected job growth will require housing that can be purchased for less than $165,000 or rented for less than $1,625 per month, with many of those essential workers requiring housing at much lower values.    


What do all those statistics and projections mean for Edmond? The answer is simple, but the solution is complicated. Many essential jobs required for Edmond to prosper do not align with our current housing market.   


When the assessment was presented at a recent Edmond City Council meeting, much of the public comment was short sighted, critical and downright embarrassing. "We can’t let everyone in.” "I worked hard to live here, and we can’t just give away free housing.” "Handouts make people weak.” One citizen even implied this is part of a larger global conspiracy to create a socialized society. Keep in mind, the housing assessment was merely being presented to the City Council as a diagnostic tool of our current housing, and no action was being taken by the Council that evening.   


The reality is our City leadership is going to have to plan for the future and the growth Edmond has enjoyed for decades is likely to continue. As former Edmond Economic Developer Steve Kreidler used to say, "So long as Edmond is a great place to live, with low crime and great schools, Edmond will continue to grow. If we want Edmond not to grow, the solution is simple, have high crime and crappy schools.” Admittedly, no one is signing up for that plan.   


For Edmond to continue to maintain the same level of wonderful amenities, retail and service options, and economic growth, there must be housing available for all those workers. At least one question is front and center: If affordable housing is not available, how far are essential workers going to be willing to travel to work in Edmond?  A new Crest Foods grocery store will open in north Edmond in the next few months, and it re-quires over 300 employees.  Can Edmond residents expect Crest employees to travel 10, 15 or even 20 miles, past other employment opportunities, just to work in Edmond? 


When it comes to health care workers, educators, police and fire professionals, can Edmond residents expect these people to have the same pride and commitment to their jobs and our town when they don’t even live here?      

The assessment revealed that 60% of house-holds aged 25-34 in Edmond cannot afford to purchase the median priced existing home in Edmond.  That age group is a key component to young teachers, nurses, police and fire personnel.  With rental vacancies at less than 6%, very little housing is currently available, and the expected housing needs will not be met without very intentional planning and creative solutions considered by our leadership going forward. 


The housing assessment included an impressive list of strategies for Edmond to contemplate in order to address our housing challenges in the years to come. There is no single strategy or silver bullet. Many of the suggested strategies incorporate existing opportunities in Edmond, when tweaked here and there, can go a long way in providing foundational steps for future success for all of Edmond. A few suggested strategies that came from the assessment were: (1) Reduce barriers to expanding production of all housing types, (2) Di-versify types and price points of housing, (3) Facilitate the improvement of older housing while preserving affordability, and (4) Support employers, economy and workers through workforce housing.    


Not surprisingly, none of the suggested strategies discussed or suggested the creation of a welfare state or actions to destroy housing values for current residents or to increase crime or make people work harder in order to live in our beautiful city.  Further, the goals appear to be to consider and implement strategies that support the unique quality of life in Edmond, set the stage for our economy to continue to thrive, reign in bureaucracy when it stifles capitalistic investment and foster a diverse economy and community that is essential for Edmond today and tomorrow.  All goals virtually every reasonable Edmond resident should endorse.  


Based on an occupational hazard, I have the opportunity to attend many Edmond City Council and Edmond Planning Commission meetings. Those that speak the loudest are often the negative naysayers who are against growth and are myopically in denial about Edmond's future needs.  Because of selfish perspectives about what it might do to them or their properties, these naysayers beat the same drum at every meeting even though there is no empirical data that supports the fears and concerns they complain about at the podium.  Specifically, anything other than proposed large lot single family development often brings out the worst of our community’s negative opinions and comments.   


In order for Edmond to continue to providing unparalled quality of life we have all experienced and grown expect, Edmond’s economy must be supported by all types of residents and housing options.  Edmond is not unique in the housing challenges it is facing. A quick Google search will retrieve numerous articles of affluent communities all over our country that are faced with similar housing and development challenges.  


 Thankfully, our leadership is not willing to sim-ply sit back and bury their collective heads in the sand as if immune to the reality of our economy and needs going forward. The housing assessment was merely a required initial step to diagnose the situation.  


The hard work is yet to come, but it is that hard work, which requires courage and leadership, that is critical to preparing Edmond for the future, with the stated goal of maintaining the high standard of living and amazing quality of life all Edmond residents expect.  


I look forward to supporting our leadership in their hard work, and I hope, for the good of Edmond, you will join in the effort.  

(McKinnis, an Edmond attorney, may be reached at



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