Most Tulsa home values in good shape, with drastic exceptions
BY CURTIS KILLMAN World Staff Writer
Monday, April 30, 2012
5/09/12 at 11:40 AM
In one Tulsa County neighborhood, landlord Harry Heuszel owns several rental properties. He paints over bare plywood nailed to windows and doors of abandoned homes owned by others.
He even tries to match the paint so that it blends in with the existing trim color as part of an effort to keep up neighborhood appearances.
Despite his efforts, median home values in the neighborhood - the point at which half of all homes sold for more and half sold for less - have fallen the past year, according to Tulsa County Assessor office data.
"It's hard to rent these houses when you got a ghost town over here," Heuszel said.
In another Tulsa County neighborhood, a portion of Florence Park in midtown Tulsa, individual values of existing homes have increased as much as 40 percent in the past year based on sales.
And so it goes with the trend of Tulsa County residential market values over the past year. They fall into three broad categories:
About 46 percent of neighborhoods saw some growth, another 46 percent of neighborhoods saw no change and about 8 percent saw values shrink, according to a Tulsa World analysis of Tulsa County Assessor data.
The residential neighborhoods are two of about 1,700 groupings of homes in Tulsa County, where property values are tracked by County Assessor Ken Yazel's office.
As part of the appraisal process, the assessor groups all properties in the county into a "neighborhood" based on similarities that include size, location and age of the improvements.
Countywide, the median value of single-family residential neighborhood property values increased 2 percent, from $126,735 to $129,300, in the past year, the analysis shows.
Despite the increase, Yazel said his office has not made any blanket increases in neighborhood appraisals for the third consecutive year due to relatively flat market values.
The cumulative taxable value of all property valuations in Tulsa County increased just 0.9 percent over the previous year, Yazel said.
Overall, neighborhood median values in the county in January 2012 ranged from about $15,300 in a pocket of homes just south of Pine Street between North Utica and North Lewis avenues to nearly $2 million for homes in a subdivision near East 111th Street and South Sheridan Road, the analysis shows.
Separated by less than five miles, the western portion of the Florence Park neighborhood and the Lake View Heights addition have seen property values go in different directions in recent years.
The western portion of the Florence Park addition, near East 15th Street and South Delaware Avenue, has seen about a 7 percent overall increase in neighborhood median values in the past year, or from $130,000 to $139,500.
Meanwhile, a neighborhood that includes what is known as the Lake View Heights addition, near Mohawk Boulevard and U.S. 75, has seen about a 2 percent decline in median value - from $22,700 to $22,200 - since January 2011, records show.
In Lake View Heights, most homes saw no change in value in the past year. But among those that did, the change was drastic.
One home, in the 2800 block of East 45 Place North, sold for $60,000 in 2006. After remaining unoccupied for five years, it sold again for $6,000.
Another home in the same neighborhood, a 975-square-foot, 57-year-old frame structure, also sold for $56,000 in 2006. A local real estate investor purchased the home in 2010 for $7,000, records show.
Heuszel, the landlord who owns several properties in north Tulsa, has been watching all of those home sales and others in the neighborhoods since the mid-1990s, many of which he says were overvalued.
"These homes were never worth that," Heuszel said, "as far as I'm concerned."
Heuszel, who owns about 10 rental homes in the neighborhoods, blames the banks.
"The banks were greedy to loan money," Heuszel said. "The banks would loan $45,000, $52,000 and $57,000 on these things."
Out-of-state investors purchased some homes, installing new windows, central heat and air conditioning, even granite countertops.
"And guess what? They couldn't sell them for $45,000," Heuszel said. "So they went belly up."
Yazel said his office takes into account abnormal sale prices.
"If I have a neighborhood of, say, 200 homes and there's been 25 sales - and a person came from California and paid too much - we don't want that to raise the values of everybody else," Yazel said.
Heuszel said some buyers didn't understand the area well enough when they purchased the homes as investments.
Peter Lewis, 69, is one of those who admits he didn't research the area well enough when he purchased a couple of homes in the area with cash in 2008.
Coming from his native England, Lewis said the $18,000 and $24,000 sale prices seemed like bargains when he bought the homes.
He has renovated both homes, but now said he just hopes to recoup his investment.
"If I get more money back, I'll be lucky," Lewis said.
Some examples of increasing market values of individual homes from 2011 to 2012 include:
Gordon Shelton, with McGraw Realtors, knows the area well, having grown up in the neighborhood.
- A home in the 1600 block of South Delaware Avenue, from $205,000 to $230,000.
- A home in the 1600 block of South Columbia Place, from $124,300 to $169,000.
Florence Park has been an area of strong home values for the last two decades, with a majority of the homes owner-occupied, Shelton said.
"It seems to be an area that attracts a lot of first-time home buyers, but they seem to stay," Shelton said. "And it's not quite as pricey as areas closer in to Utica Square and Woodward Park."
Shelton said he thinks overall the real estate market in Tulsa and the state has fared well, especially compared to other areas of the country.
"Overall, I think Oklahoma has been blessed," Shelton said. "We didn't really see much of a decline, a little bit but not much."
Change from 2011-2012 among selected neighborhoods
Increase in value
Decrease in value
- South of East 15th Street/South Delaware (western Florence Park), 7.3 percent median increase overall
- Southeast of 21st Street/South Lewis Ave, 2.5 percent median increase overall
- Portions of southeast Skiatook, 1.4 percent median increase overall
Percentage change does not necessarily reflect a change to individual property values in a neighborhood.
- Northeast of East 41st Street North and North Delaware Ave., -2.2 percent median decrease overall
- Area southeast of North Peoria Ave and East Virgin Street, -1.2 percent median decrease overall
- Area northeast of East 81st Street and South Harvard Avenue, -2.6 percent median decrease overall
Original Print Headline: Property roulette
Curtis Killman 918-581-8471
Harry Heuszel, the landlord of a property at 2827 E. 42nd Street North, paints on the outside of the rental home last week. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Harry Heuszel, landlord of a property at 2827 E. 42nd Street North, separates parts for the installation of a door knob at the rental home last week. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Harry Heuszel installs a doorknob last week on a rental house he owns. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
This house is one of several that Heuszel rents out on the north side of Tulsa. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World