Wichita Area Home Sales Reflect Upward Trend

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

Steve Poulter's home in Wichita's College Hill neighborhood has been on the market since April.

"During the summer we had quite a few people in and out, but it's tapered off now," Poulter said.

He hasn't been in a hurry to sell but has new reason to think it'll happen soon.

"It gives us a lot of hope that the numbers are up," Poulter said.

The newest numbers from the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service (MLS) show a big October for the area housing market.

Sales of existing homes are up 37 percent over sales during October last year. New home sales are up 14 percent year-over-year for October.

So far for the year, total sales are 8.4 percent better than the first 10 months of last year.

That's a lot of numbers. So what does it all mean?

"This is overall a very strong report and very encouraging," said Dr. Stan Longhofer, Director of Wichita State University's Center for Real Estate.

Dr. Longhofer analyzes the data each month and works to make it clear.

"The normal slow steady growth we have seen in the past, I think we are beginning to see signs we are heading back that way," Dr. Longhofer said.

The next question is: Why are the sale numbers trending upward?

Dr. Longhofer says increased consumer confidence, lower unemployment, and extremely low interest rates are all possible factors.

He says with the increase in sales has come an increase in sales prices. The median sales price in October 2012 is up 10 percent from October 2011.

The better-balanced market is a result of supply and demand, he says.

"As home sales have begun to pick up, we haven't seen as many homes get put on the market," Dr. Longhofer said.

The analysis of the data is matching up with what local realtors are seeing in the field.

"There is a feeling of momentum," said Tessa Hultz, CEO of the MLS and Wichita Area Association of Realtors.

That momentum has manifested itself in a number of ways.

"We are seeing more buyers coming out, we're seeing more and more multiple offers on properties," Hultz said. "We are seeing our market get better."

Hultz and Dr. Longhofer agree it appears the market will continue to improve.

They say October's numbers also show strong pending sales, which bodes well for the November and December reports.

"We are very well-poised going into the winter months and 2013," Hultz said.

Dr. Longhofer says all indications point to an increase in sales prices next year and about a projected four-percent increase in total sales.

That's just what the Poulters need tp hear given they'd like to sell soon.

"Anytime after Christmas would be great," Poulter said.

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