The affordability of Tulsa’s real estate market has been a well-kept secret for decades, but it looks like the secret is out.
"According to a recent article on Realtor.com, Tulsa is ranked as one of the top 10 housing markets that will rule 2018," says Howard Doak, mortgage banker and branch manager of Cityscape Home Mortgage. "Now more than ever, it’s a great time to buy in Tulsa and sooner, rather than later."
Chris Hodges, mortgage loan manager at Arvest Bank, agrees. "With low interest rates and mortgage guidelines loosening up, it is a good time to buy locally," Hodges says. "Buyers are able to purchase a primary residence with little or no money down, and your credit does not have to be fantastic."
Realtor.com also states that Tulsa is the most affordable city on its list, with the median home price well below the national average.
"In December, we had 3.65 percent appreciation rate on single family homes," says Richard D. Vaughan, regional manager for Bank of Oklahoma. "Mortgage median home price has increased by 5.1 percent per year. We expect an additional 3 percent increase in home appreciation in 2018."
That is great news for first-time homeowners and baby boomers looking to downsize.
However, Brenda Puckett, Realtor Associate at Keller Williams Realty Advantage, says Tulsa is more of a sellers’ market. That’s because not enough inventory to fulfill the needs for the number of current buyers, which she says will continue through the year. She points to the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors’ year-to-date report through December 2017, which shows the area’s average home sales price was $188,746, up 6.06 percent from 2016.
Puckett was encouraged by the trends in 2017. "The percentage of listing price to actual selling price landed at 97.27 percent, an important number for both buyers and sellers," she says. "That means sellers were able to negotiate pretty darn close to their asking price if they were at market value."
Besides affordability, a key component to the success of Tulsa’s market is stability.
"After the mortgage bust in 2008, purchases softened in the Tulsa area, but they never collapsed like they did in other markets around the country," Doak explains. "Since then, our market has thrived."
Rates have remained historically low in the mid-4 percent range, but do change on a daily basis, according to Vaughan. If Tulsans are not in the market to buy or sell a house, refinancing might be an attractive option under the current conditions.
"Industry leaders do not believe rates will go lower in 2018," Doak explains. "As the economy speeds up, rates will likely rise. But now is still a great time to refinance to lower your interest rate, combine higher-interest credit card debt, or do home repairs or upgrades."
Hodges agrees many homeowners could still benefit from refinancing. "Some choose to refinance to a shorter term or lower interest rate, while others are choosing to take equity out of their home to pay off debt or do home improvements," he says.
Regardless of an individual’s next real estate move, 2018 looks positive for the local market.
"Real estate is a good investment for a multitude of reasons — interest rates and affordability being two important ones," Puckett says. "With encouraging job growth predictions, the opening of the Gathering Place, a blossoming downtown and strong economy, it’s no wonder now is a great time to buy and sell real estate in the Tulsa area."
2018 Top 10 Housing Markets*
- Las Vegas
- Deltona, Florida
- Stockton, California
- Lakeland, Florida
- Salt Lake City
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
*Based on largest sales and price gains