Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
OKLAHOMA CITY - The industrial real estate sector in Oklahoma City is facing significantly decreased sales volume. But even in a tight market, some deals are happening.
Randy Lacey, with Grubb & Ellis Levy Beffort, said the deals are not signs that things are great, but things could be worse.
"There is activity and there is demand," Lacey said. "The biggest cloud over the market is commercial mortgages. We're hearing there could be a lot of commercial mortgages that could become delinquent."
While some markets have seen an abundance of foreclosures and distressed properties, Lacey said, Oklahoma has largely been spared from those woes.
Some recent activity in Oklahoma City includes the $3 million sale of the former Ben E. Keith properties in south Oklahoma City to Oklahoma Goodwill Industries. Also, a Texas buyer purchased a former Frito-Lay building at 8704 Gateway Terr. for $1.2 million. Both transactions closed at the end of July.
Some may consider the deals as miniscule, but for brokers, every transaction is a victory.
"It's starting to liven up a little bit," said Barry Murphy, managing director of Commercial Oklahoma.
Murphy said the market will improve only when companies begin to once again look to expand, but low natural gas prices could keep the market stagnant.
"On the larger transactions, corporate America is still sitting on its hands," Murphy said. "People are starting to feel a little more comfortable with the economy but we're still a ways out."
Brett Price, with Sperry Van Ness William T. Strange and Associates, watched industrial activity, along with every other area of commercial real estate, grind to a halt in the fourth quarter of 2008. As 2009 crept in, Price was encouraged by numbers for the first six months of the year that showed about half the sales from the same time last year, with sales volume off only by about $3 million. And where deals might have taken three to four months to close in better times, Price said deals now often take twice that amount of time.
"It just takes longer to get deals done now than it used to," he said.
Despite stricter guidelines from lenders and hesitations in the market, Lacey said he believes the industrial sector will stay on track for the rest of the year.
"We're settling in a little bit to this, and people are adjusting," he said. "There is some pent-up demand because people have been staying put and not really doing anything."