Tulsa housing turns the corner

Tulsa’s housing market may be seeing a full-blown recovery.
Recent statistics released by the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors indicate Tulsa saw 1,025 residential closings in 2009, a 49-percent increase over November 2008. The average Tulsa MSA sales price gained 11 percent during the same time.
All told, these increases resulted in an additional $60.56 million of commerce.
GTAR President Jack Hodgson said the increase was indicative of an overall economic improvement since 2008.
“At this time last year we were really hitting a soft spot in the market,” he said. “It was the height of the financial crisis, and consumer confidence was pretty shaken.”
Tulsa was experiencing a 14-percent decrease in pending sales and a 24-percent decrease in closings in November 2008.
Hodgson said the spike could also be partially attributed to the original November expiration date of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, and that he expected to see additional impact from the extension and expansion of the up-to-$8,000 tax refund through the end of April.
Residential construction is also experiencing a boost.
The Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa announced metro Tulsa housing starts totaled 166 in November, 12.2 percent above starts reported in November 2008.
The November total is a 33.3 percent decrease from the 249 starts in October as the industry moves into the slower winter season, but year-over-year numbers continue to edge closer to prior year totals.
Year-to-date starts trail 2008 figures by 13.5 percent.
“The association expects starts to finish within 10 percent of last year, which is a true test to our market and our builders considering where we started the year and compared to the rest of the nation,” said Gary Soderstrom, 2010 president of the HBA of Greater Tulsa. “With consistent gains in starts through our busy season and significant improvement over monthly totals from a year ago at this time, we believe that we have seen the bottom for our market and are now heading steadily toward recovery. Although it may take up to a year or more to get there, we are optimistic that with the support of government programs, the stability of our local economy and the affordability of housing in Tulsa, all of the signs point toward a stronger market ahead.”

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