Fifteen percent of households in and surrounding downtown Tulsa are extremely cost-burdened, meaning more than 50% of the payer’s income goes toward housing.
That was among the takeaways from the draft of a housing market demand study and strategy presented Thursday to the Tulsa Development Authority.
Meriam Keller and Justin Kearney of St. Louis-based Development Strategies shared the information with the TDA via a teleconference.
The city commissioned a housing study in 2010, and since that time $1.4 billion in downtown building permits have been filed, the study found.
Downtown contains the largest employment density per square mile in the city, with nearly 35,000 jobs. The study looked at the area inside the Inner Dispersal Loop and properties immediately surrounding the IDL, including such areas as the Pearl District, Owen Park and Crosbie Heights neighborhoods and Greenwood and Crutchfield areas.
Between 2000 and 2015, the study area and the city fell behind the region in economic growth. But since then, Tulsa has added 11,000 jobs through new or expanding businesses, the study, which is scheduled to be finished in about a month, found.
Over the next decade, it is estimated that 60% of new jobs in the region will pay less than $35,000, highlighting the need for affordable rents ($850 a month or less).
“Employment growth and projected employment growth really reinforces the desire and need for a broad spectrum of housing types,” Kearney said.
The 10-year demand for rental units is 2,500-3,200, and for for-sale units, that number is from 800-1,250. The largest demand for rental units lies in the affordable (people making less than $34,000 annually) and workforce (from $34,000 to $67,000 per year) sectors, with projected units available up to 2,200 during that period.
A total of 38% of study area residents who responded to the survey reported they have struggled to find quality, affordable housing.
As for cost-burdened housing — occupants paying more than 50% of their income for housing — the most extreme housing burdens were found in the Dunbar/Joe Louis neighborhoods (32% of renters/homeowners) and Pearl District area (20%).
Keller said a major barrier to obtaining quality, affordable housing is the low appraisal value in some neighborhoods.
“Even where there is a desire to renovate a home, for example in that workforce range, you can’t get a loan to cover the cost of that work,” she said.
One strategy that addresses that hurdle is a greenlining fund, which aims to restore a functioning credit market to areas where it has previously been difficult to obtain home financing.
Other strategies discussed Thursday included land banks, which return vacant properties to productive use.
TDA Chairwoman Nancy Roberts said she will be eager to see data on how developers can meet the demand at the price point needed.
“That reality is important as we’re trying to find groups who will actually invest and develop,” she said. “They still have to make money and the margins have to be there and they have to make sense. Otherwise, you are not going to get the quality. You’re not going to get the investment.
“… Really having the detail and understanding on what’s feasible and what’s not will help us make good decisions in our development strategies and development decisions.”