Looking to buy a house in the Wichita area? Here’s what to expect, says one Realtor

If you’re planning on buying a house in or near Sedgwick County soon, you can expect higher prices and a lower supply compared to previous months, but a local real estate expert says the market remains strong.

According to a report released by the Realtors of South Central Kansas earlier this month, a home in south central Kansas typically one on the market for nine days before being sold in February. The median sale price that month was $193,975, which was higher than the year before at $180,000.

“Home sales in South Central Kansas fell by 13.7% in February compared to the prior year. Sales in February 2023 totaled 568 units, down from 658 in 2022,” the report reads.

The region includes Butler, Cowley, Harvey, Sedgwick and Sumner counties.

Prices and interest rates have gone up compared to recent years, but Adam Crowder, president of South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Services, said that isn’t abnormal.

“It doesn’t look like those who are going to be coming down. You’ll probably see a leveling off,” Crowder said. “You know, a house that’s selling for $150,000 this year, next year is probably going to be selling for $155,000. It’s most likely not going to be selling for $135,000, $140,000.”

A report released by Realtors of South Central Kansas in February 2022 reported a $180,000 median sale price and a $239,900 median active listing price. In comparison, the median active listing price this February was $319,621. Homes spent a median of five days on the market in February 2022, compared to nine days the same month this year.

Crowder said historically, the most popular price point to buy a home in the area is between $150,000 and $300,000.

A small number of available homes could also affect buyer options, but the number of active listings available in February was up compared to the same period last year. According to the report, there were 1,002 active listings at the end of this February, up from last year’s 576.

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“A normal market for us would be in the two to three thousand range, so we’re still definitely low,” Crowder said.

As for how many houses were sold, about 698 contracts were signed in February, according to the realtors’ report.

The south-central Kansas area is a seller’s market, Crowder said.

“Because the majority of homes are selling in less than a month pretty easily,” Crowder noted. “In that price range, under $300,000, usually the houses are on the market for days to a week or two. And if you see them on the market longer than that, you’ll usually see a price reduction.”

Tips for buying a house in Wichita

Crowder said if you’re looking to buy a house, it’s better to start looking now instead of waiting for the market to “slow down.”

“Next year the prices go up. People for the longest time were kind of sitting on the sidelines going, ‘Well, the market’s going to slow back down, it’s not going to keep going,’ and it doesn’t look like that,” he said. “The market may slow down a little bit, but if people are looking for a specific value in a home, that’s not going to change.”

Crowder said the most important step to take when purchasing a home is to get a real estate agent.

“A real estate agent is going to be invaluable in this market, knowing how to negotiate, knowing how to make sure the house you’re offering on is not overpriced,” he said. “In a market like this, you’ve got to be very creative sometimes on your offers you put in, and you really need someone with a lot of expertise.”

You should also shop around to find the right mortgage for you, keeping in mind how much you can afford, the length of the loan and taking interest rates into account.

Originally published