Bidding wars raising home prices in Wichita market

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 11:05 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Would-be homeowners are opting to pay sellers more than their asking price in hopes of edging out rival buyers. Heightened competition for a few homes in Wichita has started bidding wars in the city.

Susan Wood, her husband and their five children are in the process of moving from Fort Riley to Wichita. With today’s market and few homes for sale, the family hasn’t found its new home in Wichita.

“Because of the housing market, the prices have skyrocketed. It’s not happening. Houses are like priced out of our price range, or, if they’re not priced out, they’re going super fast,” Wood said.

The National Association of Realtors shows the median national home price jumped 15.4 percent compared to a year ago.

Licensed realtor Lance Ferguson with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Alliance explained that bidding wars have caused a vicious and expensive housing market in Wichita and surrounding areas.

“Currently in Sedgwick County, there is just over 200 pre-existing homes that are available for sale,” he said. “In Butler County, it’s just under 50 pre-existing homes. So, there’s not a lot of inventory for buyers to choose from.”

He said that’s what is driving prices up and a big reason for this cycle is supply chain shortages that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aftermath has caused a seller’s market.

Ferguson said the best thing for those looking to buy a house can do is educate themselves and trust their realtor.

“If you’re a buyer, don’t let this market scare you because there are ways that we can get you in or get your offer accepted,” he said. “You may have to write several offers, but we will get your offer accepted.”

Ferguson said he doesn’t see the market changing anytime soon but it will over time once there are more sellers. If there is an increased inventory, prices will drop. He also stressed that when submitting an offer, it’s not always about price. Other considerations are the terms of your offer, including when you are closing, what type of loan you have, how much earnest money you’ll have to put forward and whether you’re buying the house as is.

Eyewitness News also spoke with Wichita State University Center of Economic Development and Business Research Director Jeremy Hill who went into more detail on the economic reasoning for the higher home prices.

“The housing market is actually under this limited supply issue. We can only build so much,” Hill said. “And we went through a period where incomes are coming up, people’s choices of where they wanted to live changed. So, we all had this demand out there with not enough supplies. And that is what really drives prices up in the Wichita area and in specific areas of the housing market.”

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