It’s not always easy for military service members to make the transition from active duty to civilian life. Part of that challenge is finding affordable, veteran-friendly places to put down roots after serving. While some prefer to stay close to the bases where they were assigned, others will venture out in search of new beginnings.
VA home loan options make purchasing a home as a veteran much more affordable. In addition to affordability, however, there are other quality of life factors that should be taken into consideration, such as safety, a robust job market, education quality, entertainment and cultural options, infrastructure, and commuting times.
One place that has consistently ranked high on the list of budget-friendly cities for veterans that also offer a great quality of life is Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. OKC is a capital city known for all the culture, cuisine, and modern amenities of a big city — but with a distinctly Western feel that’s rich in cowboy culture.
With a large military community of more than 42,000 active-duty service members, reservists, members of the National Guard and veterans, Oklahoma City ranked No. 6 on a list that rated the Top 10 places for veterans to live by Veteran’s United Home Loans in 2020.
And it’s not the first time that Oklahoma City has been recognized as a great city for military veterans.
In 2018, the $95 billion Navy Federal Credit Union, in partnership with Sperling’s Best Places, released a Best Cities after Service List in which they ranked the top 10 U.S. cities for service members to live when they leave their military positions. OKC earned the number 1 spot, just ahead of Omaha, Nebraska, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
To compile the list, they took into consideration a variety of metrics of veteran success and wellness, including veterans’ income, unemployment rates, and proximity to VA hospitals and military bases. They then factored in quality of life measures such as affordability, the local economy, access to health resources, colleges, the arts, and more.
“Right now, a number of factors make certain areas of the country ideal for veterans who are moving into civilian life,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist for Navy Federal. “The key factors are where the economic expansion is still going full throttle, which is creating new jobs and business opportunities for millions of Americans. Personal success is much easier when the economy around you is healthy, and a healthy economy is also a major factor in a better quality of life. Best Cities After Service helps veterans find these pockets of prosperity."
And one of those pockets of prosperity continues to be Oklahoma City.
“Oklahoma City earns its top ranking with some of the strongest scores for both veteran-specific metrics and for overall quality of life measures,” said Bert Sperling, founder of Sperling’s Best Places. “OKC scored particularly well in the categories of high incomes and income growth for veterans, low unemployment among veterans, and the number of veteran-owned businesses.”
As the largest city in the state with more than 655,000 people, Oklahoma City also provides access to veteran services due to its close proximity to Tinker Air Force Base and local VA medical centers.
In addition, Oklahoma City's cost of living is 14.6% lower than the U.S. average, and when it comes to the lowest average monthly mortgage payments in the country, Oklahoma ranks number 7 out of all 50 states. When it comes to affordable housing prices, OKC is ranked as the number 4 most affordable market in the U.S.
OKC is looking to continue offering more opportunities for veterans in the future. The United States Air Force and Oklahoma State University agreed to a five-year partnership for a variety of research projects that will provide new education and professional opportunities for service members and students. The partnership aims to encourage service members and veterans to continue their education at OSU, helping them advance their careers whether they’re inside or outside of the military.
If you’re ready to put down roots in the OKC area, the team at Timbercraft is here to help. Chat with one of our community managers and we’ll work with you to find your perfect-fit home as you make the transition back to civilian life.