ECONOMY: Expanding in 2023

Tulsa’s economy has been steadily rebounding over the past year and is considered to have entered an expansion mode. The unemployment rate increased 0.2% from Q2 to Q3 to 3.1%, and the current workforce slightly increased from 459k to 461k (down 33k year-over-year (YOY)). Low rents, energy costs, and taxes help to make the cost of doing business in Tulsa 11% lower than the national average. Tulsa’s low cost of doing business continues to drive companies to the metro.
Relatively stable industries like healthcare and education are significant drivers of employment here and help keep the economy in check when the more volatile energy industry experiences substantial fluctuations.

DEMAND: Holding Steady in Q3

Tulsa’s office market is holding steady, but demand remains fragile. CoStar reported 317.9k square feet (sf) of net absorption through the third quarter. While the market’s vacancy rate remains elevated (11.5%, down 0.3% YOY), it remains below the U.S. average, and manageable construction keeps vacancies from rising further. With improving demand, rent growth has returned also. Annual rent growth is positive at 0.8%. Despite moveouts over the past year, investors logged $328 million in sales in 2022, the highest volume reported on record.
Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding the office market, the area is reporting annual rent growth of 1.2%.

PRICING: Steady Rent Increase For Q3

The Tulsa total market saw a $.06 per square feet (psf) increase in rents, finishing the quarter at $17.07 psf (down $.26 YOY), the entire Central Business District (CBD) remained flat at $17.45/psf and Non-CBD a $.11 ($16.86/psf) increase. Class A space continues to struggle with fluctuations in demand. Total Class A vacancies were down 0.7% (up 1.8% YOY) within the CBD and Non-CBD. Class A vacancies in the CBD were down 0.6% (up 1.3% YOY).
The highest rents are found in the metro area outside of the CBD. The South submarket has the highest asking rent at $23.08/psf, followed by the Northeast submarket at $18.17/psf, with the CBD at $17.45/psf. Due to continued consolidations and closing in the downtown area, the CBD has struggled to see any significant rent gains.



Despite the ever-evolving economic challenges experienced at the local, regional, and national levels, Oklahoma City remains resolute in its commitment to finding solutions. In Q3 2023, Oklahoma City has continued to demonstrate remarkable resilience, with job growth, unemployment rates, and population expansion all showcasing strength that outpaces the broader national economic trends. New commercial real estate projects, such as The Oak and Convergence, as well as increased corporate investments, underscore the city’s economic vitality. In the face of evolving headlines, Oklahoma City stands firm and persists through uncertain times.


The office leasing and investment sales market in Oklahoma City continues to change despite the national economic state. An increasing influx of available space into the market is exerting downward pressure on vacancy rates which continue to outperform the US market at 9.9% in Q3. The market currently boasts a record high of 8.6 million square feet of available space. Challenges persist in the office sector as tenants persistently reevaluate their space needs on a per-employee basis. In the current office market, Oklahoma City’s traditionally more affordable rental rates offer substantial value, especially in a period where organizations are particularly sensitive to controlling expenses. As expected, investment sales continue to experience a notable decrease in total volume due to the challenges posed by the prevailing interest rate environment. However, it’s worth noting that cap rates for Q3 in the Oklahoma City office market are trading 2.5% higher than the US average. This differential provides a favorable opportunity for both local and out-of-state investment groups.


While commercial real estate markets globally grapple with numerous uncontrollable factors, the local CW office team maintains a strong belief that the office market will eventually rebound robustly. In the interim, they are diligently crafting innovative solutions that continue to deliver added value to their clients and partners.