Tulsa was once known as the world’s oil capital and has since grown and diversified into a modern metropolitan area that’s still under the radar screen of many real estate investors. But don’t expect Tulsa to remain a secret for much longer, as the city was recently listed among the ten housing markets to consider this year.
Situated in the “Green Country” region of Oklahoma, Tulsa lies along the Arkansas River between the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and the Osage Hills. Although the economy in Tulsa has traditionally been driven by the oil and energy industries, major industries now include aerospace, finance, manufacturing, and high tech. Google recently announced a new investment in the Tulsa metro area, and Amazon recently opened a new 600,000 square-foot fulfillment center in Tulsa.
Quality of life and a low cost of living and doing business are just three of the many reasons why investors think the Tulsa real estate market is a great place to invest this year and next.
Tulsa County’s population has grown by 7.4% over the past 10 years, outpacing the statewide growth rate of slightly more than 5%. Although growth is beginning to level off, median household incomes and property values are on the rise, two fundamentals that help to make rental property a good investment in Tulsa:
Key Population Stats:
- The population of Tulsa is about 400,000 with more than one million residents in the metropolitan area and it is the second-largest city in Oklahoma.
- Metro Tulsa spans across seven counties, including Tulsa, Rogers, Pawnee, and Creek counties.
- More than 25% of the population of Oklahoma lives in the Tulsa MSA.
- Population growth in metropolitan Tulsa declined by 0.28% last year but has grown by 7.4% since 2010.
- Median age in Tulsa is 35 years, with 54% of the population between the ages of 20 and 59.
The job market in Tulsa continued to grow through all of last year, with the economy now just beginning to recover. Low rents, energy costs, and taxes help to make the cost of doing business in Tulsa 11% less than the U.S. average:
Key Employment Stats:
- GDP of the Tulsa MSA is more than $57 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and has grown by nearly 30% over the last ten years.
- Job growth rate in Tulsa was 1.4% in 2018, with 11,360 new jobs created.
- Tulsa has been ranked as the #5 metro for job creation and one of the top 50 cities for starting a business, according to the Tulsa Regional Chamber Economic Development (Tulsa’s Future).
- Median household income in Tulsa is $46,113 while per capita income is $29,764.
- Forbes ranks Tulsa as one of the best places for business and careers, with a projected annual job growth rate of 0.3%.
- Target industries in Metro Tulsa include advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defense, energy, and transportation and logistics.
- Key employment sectors in Tulsa include Health care and social services, retail, and manufacturing.
- Major employers in Tulsa with more than 1,000 workers include AAON, AT&T, Baker Hughes, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, OSU Medical Center, QuikTrip, and Tulsa County.
- University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Oral Roberts University are among the largest universities and colleges in the Tulsa metropolitan area.
- 87% of the residents in Tulsa are high school graduates or higher, while nearly 31% hold a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree.
- The transportation network around Tulsa includes two mainline railroads service major industrial parks such as the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, and Interstate Highways I-44, I-40, and I-35.
- Tulsa International Airport (TUL) offers direct connections to 17 cities in the U.S. and is served by three freight carriers.
Real Estate Market
The Tulsa real estate market was recently described as being “almost like a firestorm with people thinking I have to get out there, and I have to buy because I don’t know if the house is going to be there in two weeks,” according to Tulsa World.
Looking at the real estate statistics for Metropolitan Tulsa, it’s easy to understand why the area is in the midst of a seller’s market:
Key Market Stats:
- Average listing price of a house in Tulsa is $244,171, according to the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors.
- Square foot listing price of a home in Tulsa is $105 per square foot, based on recent data from Realtor.com.
- Home prices in Tulsa have increased by more than 28% compared to the same month last year.
- Average days on market is less than 29 days, with the average home selling for nearly 98% of the asking price.
- Inventory supply in Tulsa is 3.15 months compared to 5.14 months during the same month last year.
- Some of the best neighborhoods in and around Tulsa include South Peoria, Brookside, and Maple Ridge Historic District.
Attractive Renters’ Market
If you’re thinking about buying a rental property in Tulsa, you’ll be happy to know that the city is actively attracting millennial renters to the market. As U.S. News & World Report points out, cities such as Tulsa are proactively offering remote workers thousands of dollars to relocate to the metro area via the Tulsa Remote program:
Key Market Stats:
- Median rent in Tulsa for a three-bedroom place is $1,050 per month, an increase of 5% year-over-year.
- 80% of the rental housing units in Tulsa rent for between $500 and $1,300 per month.
- Single-family housing makes up 66% of the housing units in Tulsa.
- 49% of the housing units in Tulsa are renter-occupied, according to Census Reporter.
- Most affordable neighborhoods for renters in Tulsa include Sequoyah, Suburban Acres, and Carriage Trail where rents range from $675 to $735 per month.
- Most expensive neighborhoods for renting in Tulsa include Maplewood, Sunrise Terrace, and Highlands where rents can go as high as $2,011 per month.
Historic Price Changes & Housing Affordability
Two key data sets that real estate investors use to analyze potential markets for rental property investment are the historic change in house prices and the affordability of housing.
The monthly house price index report from Freddie Mac (FMHPI) measures the change in home prices for every MSA in the country. Using December 2000 as a baseline of 100, the report compares the monthly change in home prices in each market.
The most recent FMHPI index from Freddie Mac for the Tulsa, Oklahoma metropolitan area shows:
- House Price Index for the Tulsa metro area is 165.9 through August 2020.
- One year ago, the HPI for Tulsa was 154.07.
- Year-over-year home prices in the Tulsa metro area have increased by 7.2%.
Housing affordability is another key criterion that real estate investors use to help predict the future demand for rental housing in the market.
Kiplinger recently published its report of home prices in the 100 largest metro areas to show how affordable housing is based on an affordability index of 1 to 10, with 1 being the most affordable and 10 the least affordable. Affordability is based on the percentage of annual income required to buy a median-priced home last year.
The housing affordability index of the Tulsa metropolitan real estate market is 2, making the region one of the most affordable places to own a home. Since the last real estate peak, home prices in Tulsa have increased by 17.6% and have grown by 30.6% since the last market bottom.
Based on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, Kiplinger predicts that house prices will likely continue to rise steadily as surging demand puts more pressure on home values in Tulsa and the rest of the U.S.
Quality of Life
Tulsa ranks among the top 100 best places to live, ranking higher than 1,000 other cities with populations of less than 1 million residents. Tulsa World notes the city is an affordable, under-the-radar city with a historic downtown and art scene that rivals cities twice its size:
Key Quality of Life Stats:
- Cost of living in Tulsa is 7% below the national average, according to Forbes.
- Niche.com gives Tulsa an A- overall grade, with high rankings for family living, public schools, housing, diversity, and nightlife.
- Tulsa is ranked among the best places to live and to retire in the U.S., with many Tulsans proud to be lifelong residents, according to U.S. News & World Report.
- About 30% of the residents of Tulsa are between the ages of 20 and 39, making the real estate market perfect for investors targeting the millennial renter.
- The Great Tulsa Remote Worker experiment is offering remote workers $10,000 to relocate to Tulsa, with perks including cash, space in a top coworking community, and specials on downtown rental housing units.
- Tulsa has the nation’s second-fastest commute for a big city, with an average time of just 20 minutes.
- Climate in Tulsa is humid subtropical, with wet springs, dry summers, and temperate winters.
- Tulsa is situated in the “Green Country” region of Oklahoma, along the Arkansas River and at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.
- Metro Tulsa is home to one of the country’s largest collections of art deco architecture and is considered to be the cultural and arts center of Oklahoma.
Get Out the Map
Where to begin your search? Roofstock created a heat map of Tulsa based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.
DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood
LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood
YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood
ORANGE: 2-star neighborhood
RED: 1-star neighborhood
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