A firm dealing in relocations ranks Tulsa No. 1.

By LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer Published: 4/22/2009 2:27 AM Last Modified: 4/22/2009 3:49 AM
Tulsa World Article 042209
Lights accent downtown Tulsa on Feb. 14.    TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World

Lights accent downtown Tulsa on Feb. 14. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World

Tulsa has been ranked the top place to live in the country out of 100 cities and towns, according to a list from Relocate-America. Tulsa rose from fifth place last year to the ranking’s top spot. Oklahoma City ranked No. 10, and Jenks also made the list. Cities outside the top 10 were listed alphabetically by state on the firm’s Web site. Relocate-America helps home buyers and sellers access relocation resources that make moving easier. “This ranking corroborates exactly what the chamber uses to sell the Tulsa region 365 days of the year. We are faring much better during the national recession than many of our peer cities because of our diversified industries, quality of life and cost of living,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, in e-mailed comments. He noted that the Tulsa area is “experiencing resurgence due to investments made by the community in Vision 2025, streets, Four to Fix the County, education and private business.” Tulsa is on the radar screen of site location consultants and existing businesses looking to expand in this market, as well as new college graduates and young talent. This latest accolade comes just days after Forbes magazine listed Tulsa as one of the best places in the nation to find a job. The metro area ranked No. 2 among midsize cities for the financial magazine’s “Best Cities for Job Growth” and ranked 10th among all cities. Tulsa also has also been identified as the fifth best city in the nation to ride out the recession, according to Forbes.com. “Tulsa is in the eye right now. It’s a good pattern when people start to hear these things echoed by several sources,” said Ruth Adams, who became relocation director with Chinowth & Cohen Realtors earlier this year. “Our home values never take the large swing that both coasts do,” Adams said. “The middle part of the country tends to ebb and flow at a more even pace, and we’ve actually seen a small increase in our home values in the last year or so. “I think that is recognized nationally,” she said. The median price of a home in the Tulsa metro area as of February was $125,000, according to the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors. Adams said she has noticed a tremendous energy from the relocation companies her firm works with. “We’ve seen our relocation numbers increasing significantly,” she said. “We have literally hundreds on the book.” An editorial team at Relocate-America compiled the list based on a review of nominations it received throughout the calendar year and key data regarding education, employment, economy, crime, parks, recreation and housing. In its description of Tulsa, the organization’s Web site notes that the city has “the friendliness and close-knit attitude of a much smaller town.” Tulsa also has low unemployment compared with many areas of the country and an economy that is based on energy, aerospace, manufacturing and other industries, the Web site notes. Tulsa’s energy jobs have helped it remain relatively stable during the economic downtown, and Oklahoma was among six states that in January was “at risk” of a recession but not yet in one. “The good thing about relocating here is you’ve got a significant number of amenities and cultural venues,” said Bob Ball, the chamber’s economic research manager. “That is growing, and yet you’re not trapped with the high cost of living of a large metropolitan area.” He noted that the cost of doing business in the Tulsa metropolitan area is nearly 14 percent below the U.S. average, and its cost of living is 11 percent below the U.S. average. Top places to live 1. Tulsa 2. Dallas-Fort Worth 3. Pittsburgh 4. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. 5. Huntsville, Ala. 6. Houston 7. Albuquerque, N.M. 8. Lexington, Ky. 9. Little Rock 10. Oklahoma City

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