Despite a slowdown in the energy business and accompanying job lay-offs, Oklahoma housing markets are holding up strongly in the wake of the financial crisis. The first time buyers’ tax incentive produced a swell of home sales, which resulted in a reduction of inventory.
The state’s housing markets maintain their protection from the massive downfall that beleaguers so many other states as a result of lower overall housing prices, having never experienced run-away inflation during the boom. The foreclosure epidemic does affect Oklahoma markets, but not to the major degree else where. The energy boom that sparked home sales has quelled as oil rigs are idle.
Fewer risky adjustable rate mortgages and loans developed to get anyone into a home possible were sold in Oklahoma, which also acts to strengthen its markets.
In Oklahoma City, a strong volume of home sales have been produced by the government tax credit, reducing inventory and the average time it takes to market property. The market may be close to reaching stabilization. But job cuts leave fewer consumers to buy homes in the tight lending environment. As Oklahoma City moves towards stabilizing, the market is forecast to decline just 2.3% in home prices in 2010.
Home sales are also up in Tulsa, where the repercussions of the financial crisis have been limited. Tulsa was one of the last markets in the country to see a downturn, and will likely be one of the latter to fully recover. Job losses in energy and agriculture, two of the areas largest employee sectors will hurt the marketplace. Tulsa is forecast to see average home prices decline 2.0% for the year even as home sales rise.
In Edmond outside of Oklahoma City the market grew with less restrictive home building guidelines for new developments during the boom, and provides higher priced newer homes than much of the surrounding area. The upscale market has been aided with federal bail-out money for homes that have been left vacant to foreclosure.
Edmond is also moving towards a balanced market even as foreclosures are projected to rise in the first half of the year from many homeowners who are losing confidence in restoring any sort of equity in their homes. Edmond is forecast to see average home prices decline 3.1% in 2010.
In Lawton tighter mortgage underwriting guidelines have made it impossible for many homeowners to refinance mortgages. The lack of mortgage financing is making it more difficult on the marketplace even as home sales improve. The value of homes in Lawton and the rest of Oklahoma will decline until more lending is offered by bankers willing to offer mortgages less restrictively. Housing prices are forecast to drop an average of 2.5% by year’s end in Lawton.