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Why So Many People are Leaving the Coasts and Moving to Oklahoma City

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Over the last decade, many young professionals who have found success in coastal cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York have made the move to America’s heartland and landed in Oklahoma City. During that time, OKC’s population has grown twice as fast as the national average. For prospective homebuyers, this city has the winning combination of more space, less crowding, and a lower cost of living. 

But why Oklahoma City in particular? Young families love that we have some of the best schools in the nation. For outdoorsy folks, our four-season climate graces us with more than 235 days of pure sunshine per year. From hiking to boating to golfing, recreational opportunities abound in OKC. And with an average commute of only 21 minutes, people here spend less time in traffic and more time having fun. In fact, among cities of comparable size, OKC has the lowest commute time in the country. 

The Oklahoma City metro area is known for being the best place for renters to become buyers. The region’s stable housing market and affordability earned it the number 2 spot on Smart Asset’s Best Cities for First-Time Homebuyers list, and when CNBC ranked cities that have a low cost of living paired with high-paying jobs, OKC was number 1. And with interest rates at all-time record lows, there’s never been a better time to buy. 

Wondering what your money will get you in OKC versus other major cities? We used Nerd Wallet’s Cost of Living Calculator to compare apples to apples. Here’s the breakdown: 

San Francisco, CA

  • Median price for a 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom home: $1,263,813
  • Cost of loaf of bread: $4.59
  • Cost of gallon of gasoline: $3.82
  • Cost of a yoga class: $21.14
  • Cost of a dentist visit: $138.14 
  • Average commute length: 33 minutes

Los Angeles, CA 

  • Median price for a 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom home: $827,579
  • Cost of loaf of bread: $4.66
  • Cost of gallon of gasoline: $3.70
  • Cost of a yoga class: $20.33
  • Cost of a dentist visit: $109.40
  • Average commute length: 54 minutes

Portland, OR

  • Median price for a 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom home: $615,500
  • Cost of loaf of bread: $4.55
  • Cost of gallon of gasoline: $3.22
  • Cost of a yoga class: $18.80
  • Cost of a dentist visit: $96.40
  • Average commute length: 26 minutes

Seattle, WA

  • Median price for a 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom home: $826,200
  • Cost of loaf of bread: $4.87
  • Cost of gallon of gasoline: $3.57
  • Cost of a yoga class: $20.67
  • Cost of a dentist visit: $147.50
  • Average commute length: 28 minutes

New York City, NY 

  • Median price for a 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom home: $2,200,000
  • Cost of loaf of bread: $4.26
  • Cost of gallon of gasoline: $2.81
  • Cost of a yoga class: $20.40
  • Cost of a dentist visit: $124.43
  • Average commute length: 36 minutes

Oklahoma City, OK

  • Median price for a 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom home: $247,875
  • Cost of loaf of bread: $3.20
  • Cost of gallon of gasoline: $2.21
  • Cost of a yoga class: $12.60
  • Cost of a dentist visit: $91.00
  • Average commute length: 21 minutes