Real estate slump hasn't hit western Oklahoma

Lawton_If you're thinking about buying a home, in Oklahoma you had better do it fast.  But, if you're thinking about selling, you may want to postpone the notion for a few years.

Despite the fact that the national housing market is in a slump, the Oklahoma Association of Realtors (OAR) says Oklahoma is seeing great numbers on average, and the western part of the state is really booming.  It seems that home prices keep rising in Lawton.  "You can see, just driving around looking at all the new construction in all the different areas...It's wonderful," says President of the Lawton Association of Realtors Betsy Park.

It's not just Lawton, either.  "It's in Duncan and Altus, and all the areas in our Western District," says Park.  In 2007, home values in Lawton increased by 5.68%, in Duncan they increased by 17.4%, and in Altus, the number of homes sold increased by 34% -a sharp contrast with the country as a whole.

The majority of people in western Oklahoma probably believe the housing market is down, and while that may be true for other states, it isn't for Oklahoma.  "In fact, 'the sky isn't falling' on Oklahoma real estate market," says CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors Lisa Yates.  "According to our MLS numbers Oklahoma housing values statewide were up 4.2 percent in 2007."

So, the OAR is making Oklahomans aware of the fact that the market is strong.  Their campaign is called "Good Thing You're in Oklahoma," and there's at least one new home buyer who is glad.  Dustin Stanton is building a new home in east Lawton.  "I didn't know what to expect.  We had good luck in selling our house in Jenks, so my thought is that maybe in Oklahoma there's not been a negative crunch on real estate," he said.  "Our house sold in less than 2 weeks in Jenks, so we've been very happy with the Oklahoma real estate market at this time."

Real estate agent Alan Boggs sold Stanton his home.  He says the market crunch is more of a coastal problem.  "Here in the heartland, we took care of business, and so it's taking care of us," he says.

The OAR says as far as the housing market is concerned, it's like comparing Oklahoma's weather to New York's weather.  Why would you check the weather in New York if you live in Oklahoma?  So, why worry about the real estate market in other areas of the nation when it's good right here at home?

The OAR says the increase in Lawton home values has continued to climb for seven straight years.