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Tulsa Real Estate - Voted #2 City in US


Tulsa growth market No. 2 in the nation

Las Vegas home prices are expected to decline by 8.9% next year. An 8.8% decline is forecast for Miami. Here, things are looking up.


Two years ago, the East and West coasts experienced the highest rates of home appreciation by far, while Midwest prices stayed flat.

Today, it's Tulsa's turn at the top.

A recent Money magazine survey of the nation's 100 largest markets put Tulsa in the No. 2 spot for home-price inflation, with a predicted 4.3 percent rise over the next year. McAllen, Texas, at 9.8 percent, was the only area that topped Tulsa.

The survey has Tulsa well ahead of the nationwide 0.7 percent drop over the next year predicted by the
National Association of Realtors -- the first drop since the group began keeping track nearly 40 years ago.

Ron Sumner, president of the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors, said the projected rate of home price appreciation translates into continued real estate growth across the metropolitan area.

"It's good news and substantiates what we've been saying all along -- that our home market is in good shape," he said.

The Money report, compiled by Fiserv Lending Solutions, a provider of home and automotive lending products for lending institutions, indicates that the median price of a home in Tulsa is now $135,000. A 4.3 percent increase would push that to $140,805 by April 2008.

Despite the high ranking in appreciation, Tulsa's median price is No. 84 on the list.

Oklahoma City held the 18th highest projected appreciation rate, with a $127,000 median and a projected growth of 3.1 percent.

Despite Tulsa's high position on the list, the projected rate of home appreciation is not out of the ordinary, Sumner said.

"We usually see between 2 and 5 percent over the last few years, so that puts us in the range," he said. "It's maybe a bit higher than I was expecting."

Of the 100 markets, only 18 held projected appreciation rates above 3 percent, and 42 showed sinking property values.

The bottom eight, which include Miami, Fla.; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Los Angeles and other California cities, had projected depreciation of 5 percent or more.

Rick Ellison, owner of Chesapeake Building Co., said Tulsa's steady housing prices, along with the strengthening economy and favorable interest rates, have kept sales and construction strong without pricing anyone out of the market.

"We haven't had the extreme run-up other areas did, and we haven't seen a bursting of the bubble here," Ellison said.

Toni Bales, an associate with McGraw Davisson Stewart, said the appreciation rate likely won't discourage buyers, because prices of existing homes might not rise as fast.

"People will continue to go where they can afford," she said. "Prices are too good as it is."

Bales and Sumner said Tulsa's relatively low prices continue to attract investors and new residents from the West Coast, and Bales doesn't see the trend slowing down any time soon.

"I can't tell you how many people I've sold to over the last year that have moved in from California, Arizona and other expensive places," she said. "Prices have gone so high there, and they're very attractive here."

Tulsa-area home sales hit a record in 2006, with 13,722 homes changing hands, for a total value of $2 billion. That compared with 13,200 homes sold for $1.85 billion in 2005, according to the local Realtors association.

The 3.95 percent sales gain last year came despite a nationwide drop of 8.4 percent.

However, Tulsa sales slowed somewhat during the first two months of this year. The association tallied 1,571 transactions in February, or 7.7 percent below the 1,702 sold in the same month of 2006.

Local builders pinned the slowdown on bad winter weather.

Story from Tulsa World