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Wichita IS The Real Estate Market To Watch: We Are Moving Up!

Wichita FACTS:

Total population (2010): 623,061

Median sales price (Q3 2011): $120,900

% ch. median sales price (Q3 2010-Q3 2011): 5.5%

Sales volume (# units sold Nov. 2010-Oct. 2011): 9,002

% ch. sales volume (Nov. 2010-Oct. 2011 vs. Nov. 2009-Oct. 2010): -10.8%

Sales per population (Nov. 2010-Oct. 2011): 1 sale per 69 people

Unemployment rate (Nov. 2011): 7.1%

Foreclosure activity rate (Nov. 2011): 1 in 958 units

Walk Score: 41

Like Raleigh-Cary and other markets on this list, home prices in the Wichita metro area weathered the housing downturn comparatively unscathed.

The Wichita metro’s median sales price rose 5.5  percent from third-quarter 2010 to third-quarter 2011, to $120,900. For 2011 as  a whole, the city of Wichita  posted one of the top 10 year-over-year median sales price hikes nationwide, up  17.2 percent, according to a chart provided for this report by Onboard  Informatics.

Despite the price increase,  the Wichita  area had the second-highest affordability rate among the 10 markets in the  third quarter, with 86.8 percent of homes affordable to households earning the  area’s median income.

“I think where we  really shine is home affordability. You can get a great house for not a lot of  money. Even in great years, we only had 3 to 5 percent annual appreciation, so  housing costs never really passed normal inflation rates or incomes,”  A Wichita Broker said.

Homes in the  $100,000-$160,000 price range are most popular among buyers and represent about  a quarter of the market, he said.

While sales in the Wichita market have  fallen at a slightly higher rate than at the national level, its sales rate  well exceeds that of the nation as a whole. While there was one sale for every  83 people nationwide between November 2010 and October 2011, there was one sale  for every 69 people in the Wichita  area during that time period.

Buyer activity in the area  has been steadily increasing, Grbic said, and he expects an improvement in  sales this year to slowly eat into the market’s excess inventory.

ProximityOne estimates the  area’s population will grow 1.4 percent between 2011 and 2012 — above the  expected 0.9 percent growth rate at the national level.

Brokers partially attribute the health of the housing market in the Wichita  area to its jobs market. The unemployment rate for the Wichita metro area was 7.1 percent in  November, compared to 8.2 percent nationally.

Moody’s Analytics projects  jobs will grow 1.6 percent in the area between third-quarter 2011 and  third-quarter 2012 compared to a 0.9 percent expected growth rate nationwide.

Known as the “Air  Capital of the World,” Wichita  is home to several aircraft companies, including Spirit AeroSystems Inc.,  Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier Aerospace Learjet Inc., and Cessna Aircraft Co.

Health care providers Via  Christi Health and Wesley Medical Center,  petroleum refining and chemicals company Koch industries, meat processor  Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita   State University,  and various other local and state government entities are also major employers.

Wichita, Kan. Metro U.S.
Unemployment rate (Nov. 2011) 7.1% 8.2%
1-yr. forecasted job growth (Q3 2012 vs. Q3 2011) 1.6% 0.9%
% ch. median household income (2009-2010) -4.3% -0.3%
Median sales price (Q3 2011) $120,900 $169,500
% ch. median sales price (Q3 2011 vs. Q3 2010) 5.5% -4.7%
% homes affordable at median income (Q3 2011) 86.8% 72.9%
Sales per population (Nov. 2010-Oct. 2011) 1 sale per 69 people 1    sale per 83 people
% ch. single-family bldg. permits issued (Jan.-Nov. 2011 vs.    Jan.-Nov. 2010) -13% -8%
Population (2010) 623,061
% ch. population (2000-2010) 9.1% 9.7%
% 2010 population lived in other state in 2009 2.2% 2.2%
1-yr. forecast population growth (2011-2012) 1.4% 0.9%
Foreclosure activity rate (Nov. 2011) 1 in 958 units 1    in 579 units
% ch. foreclosure activity (Nov. 2010-Nov. 2011) -50.8% -14.5%
% distressed sales (Oct. 2010-Oct. 2011) 16.7% 28%
Vacancy rate (2010) 10.2% 13.1%
% ch. vacancy rate (2009-2010) 34% 4%




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