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One of the most consistent benefits to cities centered on a university is the availability of rental property. OU enrolls 30,000 students a year, so in this town rentals are available in all shapes, sizes and income brackets. Odds are quite good that if you’re relocating to Norman you have something to do with the university, so housing near campus will be where you want to look. Bear in mind, though, that Norman is a small city and you’ll never need more than 20 minutes to cross town – except on game days when you should think twice about even leaving your house (you fool!). Campus is located in the southern half of town and the highest concentration of rentals is there. You’ll also find that most leases run on academic years and the greatest number of rentals becomes available in May.
By far the most beautiful historical homes in Norman are those abutting the west side of campus. Architecture varies here from stately ivy-covered mansions to flower-lined cottages and, fortunately, there are sometimes a few available to rent if they aren’t otherwise already taken by professors with families or enterprising, room-sharing students. The trade-off for these tree-lined streets, however, is the frequency of noise violations in the area: the bulk of the university’s sorority and fraternity housing line these streets, too. Youthful shenanigans aside, if you can manage a spot here you won’t be likely to give it up soon. Price tags start at around $1500 for a 3BR house or $400 for a garage apartment. If you don’t have any luck tracking down a crash pad here, but proximity to campus and local nightlife at Campus Corner is still important, numerous small complexes dot the environs, especially on the immediate north end, and start around $350 for efficiencies.
Like many college towns, you can’t throw a stick in Norman without hitting at least a dozen apartment complexes. The greatest concentration is around campus and starts at $450 for 1BR or $600 for 2BR, but if condos and townhouses of newer construction are what you’re after, east and west Norman are good places to look. Prices are comparable but will go up if it involves a pet policy. It also happens that Norman’s newest industry is “luxury student living” apartments, which besides being totally oxymoronic is actually true. Developers saw the need for newer construction and decided that there were enough young professionals with disposable incomes and students withdrawing from the Bank of Mom and Dad in town to pay for luxury living, so designer complexes with pools, weight rooms, tanning beds, club houses and other resort style amenities fill the streets on the southeast side of town. Prices all hover around $500 per bedroom, and are often leased on a per-bedroom basis, meaning if your two roommates decide to move to a knitting commune in Wyoming, you’re not left holding the bill. Hey, stranger things have happened.
In a not-so-odd coincidence, Norman’s Main Street is undergoing the same revitalization efforts as about a gazillion other Main Streets in the good ole’ US of A, but in a slightly more unusual twist, it’s really working. This formerly ramshackle area with more than a few "For Lease" signs in its windows now competes with Campus Corner for the city’s nightlife. Local restaurants and a few shops fill the commercial spaces and the 2nd and 3rd floors of these creaky old buildings are slowly being converted into 1BR studios and efficiencies. Long-time Main Street resident Mister Robert Furniture supplies most of the living spaces now, but the number is growing every year. Apartments are admittedly a bit drab so if you have a penchant for nightlife and don’t much plan on hosting any dinner parties – other than the pizza and beer variety – Main Street is a good place to look. 1BR will start around $350 and usually will not allow pets.
If you’re anxious to avoid the often-chaotic campus lifestyle and maybe have a few kiddies in tow, the suburban north side of Norman is where you need to be. Homes here are new, clean, quiet, close to groceries, banks, and shopping and are ultra-suburban. The schools are great, the neighborhoods safe, the garages full of SUVs and the kids full of…well, I’ll leave that to you. If you’ve ever watched Leave it to Beaver, you know what I’m talking about. Though the vast majority of property is owned in this area, those that are for rent are typically reasonably priced, with nice 3BR homes starting around $1500. Newer condos and townhomes in the same locale can be had starting at $650 for a 2BR.
On the whole, Norman is an incredibly safe, fun place to call home for four to eight years depending on how many times you switch majors, as attested to by the fact that most people don’t want to leave even after matriculation. In a very cowboy-centric state it’s an enclave of marginal hippies, but with no shortage of spoiled rich kids in BMWs and everything else in between. It’s also becoming more bike and pedestrian friendly every year and though residents may lose their minds in fits of football-induced insanity from time to time, people are typically friendly and welcoming and finding a place to suit your style and budget is relatively easy…as long as you support the Sooners.
Located just 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, Norman, OK is the home of the University of Oklahoma. Approximately 110,000 people live there. Settlers established the town during the famous Land Run of 1889. it became a city practically overnight with 150 residents arriving in one day. The largest college in the state, there are about 30,000 students at the University. It employs about 10,000 people. The National Weather Center is located here along with several other weather-related companies. The median income for Norman is $45,000, and the median value of a home is $153,900. It's 80% white, 6% mixed race, 4% black, 3% Asian, 3% Hispanic, and 3% Native American.
Pros •Low unemployment rate •90% with high school diploma •Very Safe •Great for Republicans 62%
Cons •Not so great for Democrats 38% •Incomes are a little low
Norman,OK was voted #6 on Money Magazine's Best Small Cities in 2008. There is a great deal to offer her in this college town-arts, sports events, and a solid economy. The town obviously depends on the student body for employment, entertainment, and economic activity. You have lots of great restaurants, a decent downtown area, and numerous festivals. The weather is fairly mild. Best of all, apartment prices in Norman are both plentiful and affordable. You're likely to pay from $500 to $800, a great deal. Also, with having such a large university, you can find both new and old places to rent. Furthermore, this city has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, 4%. The recession has not hurt this town like so many during this awful recession. Overall, there's tremendous opportunity. It's clean and organized, with everything you need. -Debra M. Cole