Optimism pays off
The Tulsa real estate market is ripe for buyers and sellers.
2016 wasn’t a bad year for home sales, as far as Rodger Erker is concerned.
Though the longtime broker at McGraw Realtors says he’s downright optimistic this year will be a great one for buyers and sellers alike.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve had throngs of people looking at new houses,” Erker says.
Now that uncertainty in the minds of homebuyers over the election has evaporated and consumers have regained their confidence in the economy, Erker believes greater numbers of Tulsans will take the plunge with their first home or trade up to the dwelling of their dreams.
His top advice for buyers this year — sitting on the fence for too long could get costly, as the days of price stagnation are coming to an end.
“Prices may go up next year, maybe as much as 4 or 5 percent,” he says.
Those boosted prices will come largely due to supply and demand as more people look to buy. On top of that, the number of homes on the market isn’t expected to increase, which will give sellers more power to set higher asking prices. These homes should continue to attract multiple offers and sell quickly.
As a result, buyers will need to research homes in the area and ensure their offers will be attractive enough to be considered.
However, Erker warns sellers not to get too aggressive because the overall market is expected to move closer to a balance between buyers and sellers.
“Sellers need to be very conscientious of pricing houses properly within the market,” he says. “If you try to blow up the price of your house compared to others in the area, it’ll just sit there.”
Sellers need to keep their homes in good condition, as most traditional buyers no longer want to deal with a fixer-upper, Erker says. It’s mainly investors who are in the market for homes that need improvement, and they generally look for bargains.
However, those hoping to buy some of the biggest, more luxurious homes in the area could run into unexpected deals. Erker says homes in the million-dollar range or higher have sold slowly, and some sellers might be willing to compromise.
“I know of over 100 homes in that range that are on the market right now, which is more than usual,” he says.
One other factor buyers of all stripes should brace themselves for — interest rates are expected to rise significantly for the first time in nearly a decade. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise the federal funds interest rate now that the country’s economy has stabilized, and interest rates for home mortgages are expected to follow.
At least for now, Erker expects mortgage rates to nudge upward rather than skyrocket.
“I’ve read some predictions that they’d go up to 5 percent — though that’s still much lower than it had been in the past,” he says.
Getting a mortgage, at least in Tulsa, hasn’t been much of an issue, and that shouldn’t change, Erker says. Although banks are ensuring borrowers have the ability to pay back their loans, they continue to lend at a healthy rate.
“We’ve found relatively few people who are turned down,” he says. “If you’ve got a good credit rating and a decent job, you can get a mortgage.”
By the numbers
- 2015 Closings: 13,650
- 2016 Closings: 14,243
- 2015 year-end inventory: 5,170
- 2016 year-end inventory: 6,742
- 2015 average days on market: 51
- 2016 average days on market: 46
- 2015 average sale price: $176,009
- 2016 average sale price: $178,005
Source: Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors