But pretty Oklahoma City is also very, very big. At more than 600 square miles, it ranks as the fourth-largest city in the continental U.S. by area.
But the central Oklahoma town, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, is more than its oil rig and cowtown roots. OKC is a bustling city full of vibrant neighborhoods, close-knit communities and big business in tech, healthcare and, yes, energy. A quarter-century after the terrorist attack at the city’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and 20 years after the Moore tornado, the city has rebuilt its neighborhoods and revitalized its city center to become one of the most vibrant in the Central U.S.
Each of those Oklahoma City neighborhoods has its own character and attractive culture and amenities. Here are the five areas where rent prices have jumped the most in the past year.
5. Northwest Oklahoma City
- Price increase over the past year: 2.37 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Northwest Oklahoma City: $754.45
Out in OKC’s first quadrant, Northwest Oklahoma City is the extensive stretch of land northwest of Lake Hefner, Bethany and The Village. The large area covers everything from city-edge suburban-style subdivisions and national chain boulevard corridors to industrial parks and rural farmland, with the John Kilpatrick Turnpike forming its curved spine.
But the heart of the action for daily residential and commercial life in Northwest Oklahoma City is the extended Quail Springs and Memorial Road Corridor. Stretching around the city’s Outer Loop from the Martin Park Nature Center to the Broadway Extension (U.S. Route 77) between Lake Hefner to Northwest 150th Street, the Quail/Memorial region centers around the corridors of the Kilpatrick Turnpike and co-located at West Memorial Road and the intersected Lake Hefner Parkway (State Route 74) and its extension as Portland Avenue.
The region originally grew around the Quail Creek residential development that dates back to 1961 and its neighborhood extension that covers much of the land east of the Parkway to Pennsylvania Avenue. The greater surrounding area following the corridors has exploded in both population and retail space over the last 30 years.
What was once prairie grazing lands slowly transitioned into a bustle of business parks, big box stores and national chain restaurants, strip malls, corporate campuses and residential subdivisions and a large number of rental properties and apartment complexes.
Not only do new residents find the area attractive for its burgeoning convenience while avoiding the congestion of the city, but the ability to send children to schools in the highly-ranked Edmond Public Schools is also a sought after amenity.
“In Northwest Oklahoma City, one of the big attractions would be Edmond Schools. While that is probably the case, I actually know quite a few young people who rent up here looking for a more affordable option over Downtown,” says Dana Hertneky, Anchor/Reporter, KWTV-TV News 9 Oklahoma City, a 10-year Oklahoma City resident.
Northwest Oklahoma City is also a hub for healthcare in the city, with campuses including Oklahoma Heart Hospital, Mercy Health System and Integris Cancer Institute and its Oklahoma Proton Therapy Center.
Unsurprisingly, a number of country clubs dot the region, including Quail Creek Golf & Country Club, the Greens Golf Country Club, Rose Creek Golf Course, the upscale Gaillardia Country Club and a Top Golf facility. It’s also home to the super-regional Quail Springs Mall, one of the largest in the state.
But as the region booms — around the Quails, along the Turnpike, along the Northwest Expressway and out in the more rural corners — rental prices have increased. Up 2.37 percent from this time last year, a one-bedroom apartment unit rents for $754 a month on average.
Fun Fact: Constructed in 1961, the Quail Creek development was one of the first residential golf course communities in the world. Ernie Vossler, the adjoining club’s original golf pro, later branded the concept and expanded it to other corners of the country, including the popular La Quinta developments around Palm Springs, CA.
- Price increase over the past year: 4.47 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Downtown: $1,198.55
Downtown Oklahoma City is one of the most vibrant, revitalized downtowns in the South Central U.S. While Bricktown and Deep Deuce (see below) get all the press, every corner of downtown from Automobile Alley, the Arts District and Flatiron/Triangle to Film Row, SOSA/Cottage District and Midtown has a story and a number of points of interest.
Shopping and culture abound in downtown, with retail and restaurants along the Bricktown Canal and vast collections, including a large Chihuly glass display at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and reflection and solemnity at the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the former site of the Murrah Federal Building.
Downtown also offers a number of sports and entertainment venues, such as the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers’ Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Civic Center Music Hall performing arts venue and the Cox Convention Center, which hosts large conventions, concerts and an NBA G-League team. All of these are accessible via the extensive Oklahoma City Underground, a series of tunnels and skywalks spanning over 20 square blocks.
Several parks, fountains and green spaces dot downtown, as well, offering recreation, relaxation and entertainment. These include urban Kerr Park in the heart of the Business District, Bicentennial Park, featuring a number of monuments and sculptures and the 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens offering a bandshell, ice rink, dog park, Shakespeare in the Park stage and the massive 224-foot-long, glass-enclosed Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory living plant museum.
Of course, Downtown OKC offers a bevy of trendy restaurants and bars including Bricktown Brewery and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, Flashback Retro Pub and The Jones Assembly on Film Row, Garage Burgers & Beer and Waffle Champion in Midtown and Red PrimeSteak and Twisted Spike Brewing Company in A-Alley. Downtown also houses the Oklahoma City University School of Law and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, as well as the Oklahoma State Capitol complex.
But downtown isn’t just for eating, shopping and working. Residential living in the revitalized OKC center city has increased significantly in the last quarter-century, with a number of renewal projects from loft apartments and multi-family towers to urban apartment homes and mixed-use mid-rise communities.
Several unique apartment buildings and complexes are scattered across downtown, including The Haven in the Arts District, Steelyard in Bricktown, The Maywood in A-Alley, The Metropolitan in Flatiron and The Townhouse in the Cottage District.
As more people discover its amazing destinations and bustling nightlife, demand for rental units in invigorated downtown OKC is on the rise, as is the price to reside there. The monthly lease for a one-bedroom apartment has risen 4.47 percent over the last year, to an average of nearly $1,200.
Fun Fact: BC Clark Jewelers is a jewelry store along Park Avenue in Downtown Oklahoma City’s Business District that opened in 1892, when Oklahoma was still called Indian Territory. The BC Clark “Anniversary Sale Jingle,” written in 1956 and still played annually in ads during the holiday season, may be the longest continuously-running local commercial jingle.
3. Southeast Oklahoma City
- Price increase over the past year: 6.26 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Southeast Oklahoma City: $790.82
That giant tentacle reaching out from the center of OKC is the large swath known as Southeast Oklahoma City. Stretching from the city isthmus between Del City and Midwest City and Moore to over the Oklahoma/Cleveland County line, Southwest OKC is mostly rural homesteads and empty farmland as you traverse easterly, acres and acres of sparseness.
But in closer proximity to the city center, the landscape along the Interstate 240 Corridor fills in with industrial countryside, massive landfill, giant manufacturing parks and the 5,500-acre Tinker Air Force Base, which employs more than 30,000.
The area around Tinker and the industrial parks features mostly suburban residential tracts of single-family homes around looped blocks in subdivisions, like Frolich Meadows Estates, Parkview, The Eagles and Cambridge Park.
Additionally, several apartment complexes dot the areas of Southwest OKC closest to the base and around Midwest City including Sunnyview, Midwest City Depot, Mosaic Apartments and Winfield East.
Southwest Oklahoma City’s other most prominent feature is the giant Lake Stanley Draper, a nearly 3,000-acre reservoir created in 1962. The lake, the largest in the OKC city limits, is a popular recreation destination with more than 14 miles of hiking and biking trails, and spots for camping and picnics, four covered fishing piers stretching out into the lake and a large marina on its western shore for boating and sailing.
And for a family cultural experience, the Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, located along South Sunnylane Road, features more than 350 animal skulls and skeletons from around the world.
Rental housing around the base and the industrial boulevards are in demand in Southeast OKC, as the price for a one-bedroom apartment unit has increased 6.26 percent over the last 12 months, up to an average of $790.
Fun Fact: Tinker Air Force Base was named for Major General Clarence Tinker who was the U.S. Army’s highest ranking Native American officer ever and the first Army general officer to lose his life in World War II. In addition to being home to 23 commands and operating units, Tinker AFB was the location of the first successful tornado forecast, in 1948, as well as where Buddy Holly and the Crickets recorded four songs in the base’s Officer’s Club in 1957.
2. Deep Deuce
Photo courtesy of Level/Mosaic Apartments
- Price increase over the past year: 7.42 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Deep Deuce: $1,151.09
Named for the Northeast 2nd Street corridor that forms its east/west spine, Oklahoma City’s Deep Deuce is a fascinating phoenix of a neighborhood, which has lived two very distinct lives. During the pre-Great Depression days, Deep Deuce was one of the most important African-American neighborhoods in America. The district on the eastern edge of downtown was an essential South-Central U.S. hub for African-American culture, business and jazz, and home to a number of celebrated musicians including Count Basie, Ida Cox and Bessie Smith, and many warehouse workers from adjacent Bricktown.
But during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, African-Americans moved out to other areas of the city, leaving Deep Deuce residentially desolate and paving the way for the Centennial Expressway (Interstate 235) to be erected through the celebrated neighborhood in 1989. But over the next two decades, Oklahoma City’s downtown would experience a revitalization as coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, live music venues and loft apartments would open en masse in places like Bricktown and Deep Deuce.
Today, the residential population mostly occupies chic condos reclaimed from vintage buildings and loft units above quaint cafes and retail shops, as well as a number of trendy apartment complexes like The Deep Deuce at Bricktown, Level/Mosaic Apartments and The Maywood.
These residents can partake in a wonderful array of shopping, eating and nightlife options throughout Deep Deuce, with more opening each month. The Deep Deuce Dining District includes eateries like The Wedge Pizzeria, La Baguette Deep Deuce, Black Walnut and Deep Deuce Grill, and local favorite bars like Stag Lounge, Anchor Down and WXYZ Bar & Grille.
The neighborhood also offers an Aloft hotel, the Native Roots Market, the Artspace at Untitled gallery and the Deep Deuce Sessions pop-up concerts.
Observes KWTV-TV News 9’s Hertneky, “I’m certainly not surprised rents are rising in Deep Deuce and Downtown. There’s a lot going on down there, and it seems not only young people but empty nesters are anxious to be a part of it. Those areas are in walking distance from a lot of great restaurants and nightlife and the new streetcar makes everything even more accessible.”
But be prepared to pony up to live among the popular restaurants and fashionable retail stops. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Deep Deuce comes in at a pricey $1,151 monthly, an increase of 7.42 percent from a year ago reflecting the neighborhood’s growing demand.
Fun Fact: Notable African-American writer Ralph Ellison, author of the classic novel, “Invisible Man,” was a Deep Deuce resident. Ellison also penned a well-known 1953 poem about his affection for the neighborhood titled “Deep Second.”
Photo courtesy of Hunters Ridge
- Price increase over the past year: 8.71 percent
- Average rent for one-bedroom in Northridge: $691.50
Tucked away in the aforementioned Northwest Oklahoma City along the Northwest Expressway (State Route 3) corridor is the small residential neighborhood of Northridge. The community sits inside OKC’s Outer Loop beltway, just two miles from the bend in the John Kilpatrick Turnpike, a suburban-style, family neighborhood a short distance from every service retailer and chain store a soccer parent could ever dream of.
Northridge sits in the northeast quadrant of a swath of planned subdivisions surrounded by commercial parks, open space and farmland. Together, with adjoining matching developments, including Council Heights, Rambling Acres, Wilshire Hills and Pikes Point, Northridge is a maze of closely-set, single-family homes on small footprint lots with quaint backyards. In the northeast corner of the community is Northridge’s largest rental complex, Hunters Ridge at the intersection of West Britton and North Council Roads.
There are just a few non-residential locations within the borders of Northridge, including one strip mall off NW 85th Terrace that features a storage facility, auto service center, dry cleaners and a city fire department substation, and a second by NW 89th Street offering a daycare, salon, firearms store, pizza shop, a Burger King and an urgent care facility.
But, as location is everything, Northridge residents benefit from several retail centers just across the street from its borders, including a Walmart, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx and a plethora of fast food and fast-casual restaurants along Northwest Expressway.
Despite its convenience to so many retailers and eateries, as well as its suburban-style family seclusion, rental prices don’t break the bank at just $691 a month for an average one-bedroom. However, that represents the largest jump in rent anywhere in Oklahoma City, up 8.71 percent from this time last year.
Fun Fact: The Northwest Expressway (State Route 3), which runs alongside Northridge, is officially designated as “Governor George Nigh’s Northwest Passage.” In 1981, the former Oklahoma governor was able to obtain nearly $100 million in highway funding for upgrades, despite opposition and the project being derided as “the highway to nowhere.”
We looked at all neighborhoods in Oklahoma City with sufficient available inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and compared the average price from January 2019 to January 2020 to find the neighborhoods with the highest percentage increase in one-bedroom rent prices.
The current rent information included in this article is based on January 2020 multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.