More Kansans ready to become home buyers

Published: Nov. 29, 2016 at 11:13 PM CST
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With home values in Wichita and across the state climbing, more Kansans are ready to purchase a home.

A new federal report shows home values in Wichita grew in the last year.

Molly Tully is searching for a new home for her family. They've been living with her parents for the last year. But with a new baby on the way it's time to move out.

"I love my parents," she laughs. "But I've got to get out."

Molly has tracked the housing market for the last year but only began looking at homes a couple weeks ago. She knows home values are going up in Wichita.

They're up an average 4.6 percent across the Wichita metro area, 4% state wide, over the last year. That continues a trend over the last four years with home values up 11 percent since 2012 in Kansas, compared to 24.1 percent nationwide.

That means just for owning a $100,000 home in Wichita over the last 12 months you're an average of $4,600 richer.

Dr. Stan Longhofer, director of WSU's Center for Real Estate and Finance, says while the increases in Kansas aren't as big as they are nationwide it still means most homeowners are at least a little bit richer.

"Nationwide home price appreciation is a little bit faster. It's been really solid numbers we've seen over the last few years. But that's normal," Longhofer said. "We tend to have more of a 'slow but steady wins the race' philosophy when it comes to home price appreciation. We don't see the really big highs and we don't see the big drops that some markets do."

He also reminds us these numbers are just averages.

"Now not everybody owns the average Wichita home," he said. "So it doesn't mean that everybody's home price has gone up. Some have gone up more. Some have gone up less."

He says this could mean more homes for sale as the rising values mean more equity for homeowners.

"It's just there aren't enough homes being listed. As home values go up, more people will be willing to list. so that should help ease that," Longhofer explained.

He also thinks we could see more homes being built. That's something that's not happening as much right now, he says, because buyers are looking at already existing homes.

"People look and they say, 'I can get so much more house for my money with an existing home than building.' As existing home values go up that should make it more attractive, which then should help the building industry," he said.

That's good news for the industry. The two things combined could even help equalize what is currently a Seller's Market in Wichita.

"It's not uncommon for us to hear stories of homes that will go on the market at 10 o'clock and by 5 o'clock that evening they'll have multiple offers at or above the asking price," said Longhofer.

But it probably won't happen soon enough for Molly, who already lost out on one home she wanted.

"We've already made a bid. And we thought it was a pretty good, significant bid," she said. "And we still got beat for the house."

As for whether this means it's time to buy or not, Longhofer told Eyewitness News it really depends on your personal life.

"Generally speaking it really doesn't matter what the market is doing. If your personal life situation makes sense for you to be buying, it's probably a good time to buy," he said.

And that's where Molly says she and her family are at.

"It says go shopping!" she laughs, talking about the rising home values. "It says go shopping!"

For a look at the specific home value increases in other Kansas markets: