Tulsa is tied for the most affordable city in which to live and work in the country, according to a new study from BusinessStudent.com, which targets recent graduates and young professionals.
Tulsans in high-paying business-related jobs still had 85 percent of their salaries after paying average rent on a two-bedroom apartment, tying Lexington, Kentucky, for the top spot. Oklahoma City was third, with residents in the same circumstances retaining 84 percent of their salaries after rent.
BusinessStudent.com released its study this week, listing the 25 most affordable cities in which to live and work.
The website found that the average high-paying business-related job salary in Tulsa was $68,147 and that the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $863. Dallas had the highest average such salary in the top 25 at $82,609, and another Texas city, College Station, had the lowest average at $55,086.
The cheapest rent was Tulsa’s, and the highest rent was Dallas’ $1,422.
BusinessStudent.com compiled the list of cities by comparing the highest quoted salaries from more than 100 business-related jobs on Indeed.com to the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment from Rentjungle.com.
While Tulsa is paving the way for inexpensive rentals, it has room to improve.
Local developer Bob Jack told the Tulsa Development Authority two years ago that folks in the $25,000-$40,000 salary range can’t afford a $1,000-per-month apartment, adding that affordability should be the driver for multifamily projects downtown.
He was a partner in the Brickhugger LLC-developed Y Lofts, a 79-unit apartment complex that opened early last year in the former downtown YMCA building.
Also helping keep rental costs low locally has been the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Since 2008, GKFF has been instrumental in helping plan and fund the construction of almost 200 units of affordable housing in Tulsa, with about 850 more units planned over the next few years in partnership with other private and public entities.
In the GKFF context, “affordable” refers to providing affordable market-rate housing in areas such as downtown that would otherwise exclude residents such as teachers, artists and entrepreneurs, said Josh Miller of GKFF. It also means providing high-quality, safe and stable housing to low-income residents in a mixed-income setting, he said.
GKFF has worked with Teach For America teachers since 2009, helping them live in the Tulsa Arts District.
“Having accessible, quality affordable housing is a key factor in building a vibrant and inclusive city,” Miller said. “It’s also an important recruiting tool to help positively grow Tulsa’s population.