For decades, Tulsa's economy was rooted in the oil industry. The city's real estate market rose and fell based on the strength of the commodity. Tulsa prospered during the 1960s and 1970s but faced economic calamity when oil prices plummeted in the early 1980s. As in other oil strongholds, such as Houston and Midland, Texas, Tulsa's real estate market struggled through most of the 1980s, as disaffected residents fled the city in search of work elsewhere.

The city recovered during the 1990s and 2000s, thanks in large part to a concerted effort by local government leaders to diversify Tulsa's economy. In 2003, voters approved a sales tax hike of 0.6% to fund educational and medical institutions in the city and to ease the tax burden on private employers in the area, thus enticing them to stay.

While affected by the late-2000s crash, Tulsa's housing market held up better than most American cities. Since 2011, prices in the area have not increased like they have in places such as South Florida and Phoenix, which bottomed out during the crash. However, slow, steady, consistent growth has prevailed.

Market Insights

In May 2011, the median home sales price in Tulsa stood at $124,000. Following five years of steady appreciation, it stood at $166,500 as of May 2016. Prices tend to be slightly higher during the summer months; however, compared to many cities, particularly those in colder climates, the seasonal price fluctuations in Tulsa are mild.

Home sales volume in Tulsa has remained steady since 2011. Typically during the summer, between 1,200 and 1,300 Tulsa homes are sold each month. As fall rolls around, that number slowly declines, bottoming out at 700 to 900 home sales per month during January and February.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Tulsa County, which includes the city of Tulsa, has the highest property taxes in Oklahoma, though the county's rates are still significantly lower than the national average. Property taxes in Oklahoma are calculated in mills. A mill equals $1 per $1,000 in tax-assessed value, which, in Tulsa County, equals 11% of a home's market value.

A Tulsa home's exact tax rate in mills depends on the school district. The lowest rate in the county is 84 mills, while the highest rate is 140 mills. Consider a home with a market value of $200,000 that is located in an area of Tulsa with a 140 mill tax rate. This home's tax-assessed value equals 11% of $200,000, or $22,000. Since 140 mills represent $140 in taxes per $1,000 in value, this home has an annual property taxes of $3,080.

Transfer taxes in Oklahoma include a deed stamp tax of $75 per $500 and a mortgage registration tax that varies from 2 cents to 10 cents per $100, depending on the terms of the mortgage.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Developed with oil money during the 1920s and situated in trendy Midtown Tulsa, Terwilleger Heights is one of the city's most exclusive and high-priced neighborhoods. Most of its early 20th-century homes have been renovated extensively and feature modern updates, including hardwood floors throughout the home. The neighborhood manages to feel secluded and posh while maintaining an urban setting that is conveniently close to downtown. The median home value in Terwilleger Heights is greater than $500,000.

Affluent homebuyers who prefer suburban living gravitate to the suburbs of Owasso and Broken Arrow. Both feature highly rated school systems and a mix of old and new housing stock.

Top Real Estate Websites

Those looking for specific information on Tulsa real estate enjoy several helpful online resources. Operated by a local real estate team, provides a home search feature, a regularly updated blog on Tulsa real estate happenings, as well as an extensive "Explore Tulsa" section featuring information on the city's public and private schools, community amenities, and new construction projects in the works.

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