Ardmore is the only Oklahoma town south of Chickasha to have ranked in the top 10 in a recent SmartAsset study of healthy housing markets. What has allowed this community to overcome national volatility in housing, and can the trend of success be expected to continue as the city grows?

According to a study by SmartAsset.com, the city of Ardmore ranks ninth in the state of Oklahoma in terms of the health of its housing market.

SmartAsset’s ranked list of housing communities was compiled by analyzing data such as average years living in a home, percentage of homes sold at a loss, home costs as a percentage of income, and other similar metrics.

Through analyzing these factors, SmartAsset not only asserts that Ardmore is “top 10” in the state, surpassing the likes of Norman, Edmond, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, but number 51 in the nation as well.

SmartAsset concluded that, “a healthy housing market is both stable and affordable; homeowners in a healthy market should be able to easily sell their homes, with a low risk of losing money over the long run.”

Ardmore, it would appear, has closely approached this ideal.

To understand what allowed Ardmore to reach such a high level of objective success in the housing market, local realtors and builders point to the notion of consistency; a lack of severe fluctuation.

General contractor Shane Ross, who heads Shane Ross Premiere Homes and serves as president of the Southern Oklahoma Home Builders Association, said Ardmore has by and large seemed impervious to the ups and downs of the national market.

“Business is obviously very good in Ardmore,” he said. “The commercial side hasn’t stopped, even when the market was down. Everything has continued to grow.

“Ardmore has always stayed steady. There have been no surges, and no drastic drops ... I think that’s what makes it such an inviting community.”

Larger communities, such as Oklahoma City, experience much more of a “rollercoaster effect” in their numbers, partly due to the sheer volume of houses on the market and citizens participating.

Ardmore Real Estate Agent Carolyn Yeager, who has twice been awarded “Realtor of the Year” by peers — most recently in 2012 — said the community’s relative lack of volume has actually worked in its favor.

“Ardmore has never experienced the highs and lows that the east and west coast do. We’ve stayed pretty constant,” she said. “I think the reason is the lack of inventory. We have a manageable supply and demand. We don’t have an oversupply of housing that brings prices down (as in larger markets).”

Yeager and her business partner Claudia Kittrell have enjoyed the comfort of stability that such a manageable market brings, but they realize that many other markets operate very differently.

“When (people from the east and west coasts) are coming in, they’re kind of shocked that we don’t have more of a choice of housing,” she said.

The options are simply fewer by comparison, which can take some adjustment on the part of the buyer, but ultimately allows the market to be more stable.

In addition to this lack of inventory, Ross hypothesized that Ardmore’s location near I-35, combined with what he calls a “strong community that constantly works to keep on growing,” have also played large roles in maintaining the market.

Ross, who is on the building side, appreciates Ardmore’s predictably stable nature.

“We’ve had a little bit of (fluctuation), but not drastic,” Ross said. “When the economy went down, we had some builders leave, and then come back when it was better. But generally, the same names have been building in Ardmore for years.”

When the same people are entrenched in a community for extended periods of time, relationships are forged and things tend to run a bit smoother, as opposed to the riskiness of dealing with strangers in a market with high turnover.

Ross calls home building a “personality” business, and values his ability to trust in those around him when doing his job.

“Business is good,” he said. “Locally, people just keep on striving for better; That’s the secret.”

@jdhartARD