There is a record lack of homes for sale in the United States and prices are soaring. In Oklahoma it isn’t much different. Statewide there are 50% less homes for sale than last year and the average home price has increased 15%.
A metric used by the National Association of Realtors measures whether a market is better for buyers or sellers by estimating the time it would take to sell out of available homes. Six months of supply is considered a neutral market. Less than six months is considered a seller's market. In Oklahoma inventory is slightly less than two months.
Will Gattenby, Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, said the shortage may be even steeper in more populated places.
"That's a statewide number. If you're looking at Tulsa, urban area or suburban area, there could even be less supply."
Gattenby said he thinks one reason for the change is because people are reevaluating their living situations. Some people want more space. Others are bringing family closer.
"The pandemic has played a big role in that in the last year. You've even got some folks who are buying a bigger house so they can fit multiple generations in a home. Older parents are moving in with their grown children."
Investors are also interested in the Oklahoma market.
"We hear from our members all the time - anecdotally - people from outside the state and some inside the state buying homes here in Oklahoma because it's a fairly inexpensive market," said Gattenby. "Then they use it for a rental property."
Gattenby says it’s hard to know if we're headed for a market crash.
"Are housing prices going up higher than they should be? I don't know about that. We'll have to let the market figure that one out.
We predict we're going to see a hot seller's market through this year, and in the fourth quarter we'll start to see some plauteauing out.
We were already in a seller's market and had low inventory before the pandemic. Now the demand is upticking to make it look like it's even more of a seller's market. I don't know if we're in a bubble. Time will tell."
Locally people are scrambling to keep up. Tulsa realtor Brett Friesen said he didn't used to have to comb the market like he does now. He's calling old clients, telling them what their houses are worth, and asking if they want to sell. He's also contantly plugged in.
"You have to be 100% on the ball, on point, reachable, and ready to pounce at any given moment. The fact of the matter is, if you don't get into a house the day it hits the market or maybe the next, you won't even have a chance," said Friesen.