Wichita's Housing Market In Better Shape Than Rest Of Country

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Friday, February 20, 2009

The nation’s economic troubles are also Wichita’s economic troubles. But Wichita’s housing market is faring better than in other parts of the country.

Wichita State University’s Center for Real Estate is revising its area housing forecast to reflect this information and local economic changes.

Both new home and existing home sales for 2009 in the Wichita metro area will be down by double-digit numbers.

Wichitans Victor Son and Lauren Vo are house hunting again. They had looked last summer, but then stopped when the economy turned bad.

“We put it off for a while but now it seems like the interest is low. I’m hoping the price will go down as well,” said Son.

It’s been a difficult year on average for many local realtors with existing home sales down 16% in 2008 versus 2007.

Real estate professor Stan Longhofer told hundreds of realtors and housing lenders Friday that area home sales will be down this year as well. He’s forecasting new home sales to be down 17% and existing home sales to be down 11%

“Homes are selling in about 40 days and home prices, while not rising at a rapid rate, are holding their own,” Longhofer said.

He says there’s not an over-supply of houses on the local market, which helps to keep the market stable.

"Transactions are down. But what that means is both buyers and sellers have been staying out of the market," Longhofer said.

That’s why home prices aren’t falling rapidly, which is disappointing to house shoppers like Victor Son, who was hoping local prices had dropped.

Realtors say they’re having to battle the perception that Wichita’s market is in the tank like other places.

“We're a local market, a local economy. So it doesn't really apply what's going on in California or Florida or Arizona. None of those places really matter when it comes to pricing,” said new home marketing sales associate, Jennifer DeBrot.

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