The Oklahoma Real Estate Market
At present, Oklahoma is one of the best places to own a home in the country. The state’s growing aerospace and alternative energy industries as well as its stable agricultural business allowed much of the state to weather the recent recession. Home prices in Oklahoma tend to stay very stable in volatile economic times. The foreclosure rate in Oklahoma is low when compared to the rest of the nation, which holds home prices steady and keeps the state from spiraling down under the weight of its own market, which happens in less responsible states such as California. The state government of Oklahoma also has various programs dedicated to keeping residents of the state in their homes once they invest themselves in the welfare of the state.
General Real Estate Prices in Oklahoma vs. the National Average
Home prices in Oklahoma are in keeping with the national average, maybe slightly above, with the average house having a value of around $105,000. Mortgage rates are slightly below the national average, with the best deals being had in 30 year fixed rates. In the more densely populated portions of Oklahoma, such as the centers for residency and commerce, home prices are a little higher. Through the more exclusive programs sponsored by the state, the state government also seems to be showing that it is slightly more exclusive in these areas, because it encourages long term investment in real estate and responsible home buying. Adjustable rates, both 5/1 and 3/1, fluctuate less than in other parts of the nation, which accounts for the higher percentage of ARMs in the state as compared to similar states.
Popular Residential Cities in Oklahoma
The largest city in Oklahoma is Oklahoma City, with one of the most important, not to mention one of the largest, markets for livestock in the world. Oklahoma City is also known to be one of the last bastions for domestic oil, as well as holding the makings of a substantial natural gas industry beneath its untouched pockets of earth. Energy companies make Oklahoma what it is, and Oklahoma City is the hub of the state. Of course, all the commerce brings the people looking for economic opportunity. With the budding domestic alternative energy industry just waiting for the right political advocation, Oklahoma City is a city to watch in the future.
Tulsa, the Oklahoma state capital, follows Oklahoma City in both prestige and commerce, and as such, population. It is the second largest city in Oklahoma, and the tourist capital of the state. Tulsa contains most of the historical landmarks in Oklahoma that the world is interested in, and the bulk of its hotel and travel industries. However, residents are drawn to Tulsa for its aerospace industry, which boasts more than 300 companies. These companies generate more than US $11 billion per year, and are one of the country’s most important defense related clusters, in a study conducted by Harvard University.
Norman, Lawton, and Broken Arrow follow in the tourist and energy commerce traditions of the two biggest cities. Oklahoma is home to a large wind industry, with the facilities to deliver manufacturing components for the industry to 20 states. Oklahoma plans to become one of the largest generators of wind energy in the near future, and representatives to the industry are reaching out to the world’s population. This can only help Oklahoma’s real estate prospects both in the near future and in the long term. The fastest growing cities in Oklahoma, aside from those mentioned, include Edmond and Midwest City, for similar reasons. Economic opportunity in Oklahoma is quite simply where the smart money is going for the foreseeable future.
The Types of Mortgages Offered in Oklahoma
Oklahoma offers a number of mortgages for prospective buyers. As before mentioned, Oklahoma is home to some of the most reasonable fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages in the nation. Adjustable rate mortgages seem to fluctuate slightly less than the national average because of stops that the state government has implemented. Oklahoma also offers balloon payment mortgages, with a wide variety of options for the lump sum involved. Oklahoma is also known for its ability to work with borrowers who need a refinance or reverse mortgage. Oklahoma also has government sponsored programs directed at the stability of its population of senior citizens. Most notably, Oklahoma also offers single family housing guarantees if the family is low income. The family must show the ability to pay the mortgage, and the standards are strict.
In keeping with the state theme of responsibility, Oklahoma is a recourse state.
Foreclosure Laws In the State of Oklahoma
In the state of Oklahoma, lenders can use either a deed of trust or a mortgage. They primarily choose mortgages and judicial sales are the process by which foreclosures are most implemented. No redemption is available to other parties once the foreclosure sale is confirmed by court. Also, within a 90 day period after the sale, the lender is allowed to sue for a deficiency.
Foreclosure Process In the State of Oklahoma
The complete foreclosure process takes anywhere from 6 to 7 months in Oklahoma. Because most mortgages are initiated by judicial sale, it is quite difficult for a lender to start the foreclosure process out of court. Oklahoma law also closes many of the loopholes that lenders might try to initiate a non judicial foreclosure with. The few non judicial cases are carried out by first stating the intention of the lender to foreclose by the power of sale. It must be sent by certified mail, and must go directly to the last known home address of the debtor. The letter must accurately describe the nature of the default, and the debtor is given thirty five days to correct the discrepancy. The foreclosure must be stopped if the problem is resolved within this thirty five day period, unless there have been three or more defaults by the borrower to the lender. The lender must record the notice in the county where the property is stationed within a ten day period of the borrower not correcting the problem within the specified thirty five day period. The notice must go to both a newspaper and online and must stay up for four straight weeks. If the problem is not resolved and the sale goes through, the home must be sold at public auction, who must post either certified funds or cash of at least ten percent of the amount of the winning bid.
To initiate a judicial foreclosure, the lender follows similar procedures, only the letters must be sent to the courthouse as well, and the court must rule against the borrower for foreclosure proceedings to continue. If the foreclosure goes through to the sale date, the auction is overseen by the sheriff’s office. The opening bid must be no less than 2/3 of the appraised value of the property, and the sale must be approved by the court before it is finalized. The finalization process takes around fifteen days. Within that time period, the debtor can redeem the property, but only by paying off the full amount owed. After the sale is confirmed, the debtor loses all rights to redemption.
State Programs to Help Homebuyers
The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) is a state sponsored program offering help for first time prospective home buyers, borrowers in financial straits, and even renters and Section 8 housing residents. Among the most generous programs is the 1st Gold Program, which pays the closing costs and down payment of a first mortgage to help buyers without much savings.