For the past year you’ve probably heard the media and real estate experts talk about the crash that will follow the first part of the decade’s real estate boom. The housing bubble will burst, home value averages will fall and selling or buying a home will be tougher than ever. These gloomy predictions have caused a bit of a panic in the real estate world, but so far, they’ve fallen a bit short of tragedy. The real estate market is slower than it’s been in a while, but it certainly hasn’t crashed. These predictions were looking at the state of the market on a national level, and to be frank, knowing the number of sales per month or the average home value in the nation won’t be of much help when you’re looking to buy or sell. (By the way, the national median home value in 2006 was $221,900).
Real estate is an investment and it’s important to put your investment in a place where it has an opportunity to grow over the years. In order to get an idea of whether your new home will increase in home value, or whether there will be a flood of new people wanting to move into the area, you’ve got to examine specific factors of the area you’re living in or would like to move to. Specifically, take a look at the area’s past home value averages and rate of sales, as well as its economy, job market, and attractions to outside visitors. These factors will have an affect on whether your home value is likely to rise or fall over the years.
Kansas, with it’s capital city of Topeka, has long flown under the radar of the American public – there’s just not much talk about the Heart of America’s West. But Kansas has a bit more to offer than most people would think. To start, Kansas has a fairly large population compared to most Midwestern states: 2,764,075 people reside in the state. Kansas has an economy based strongly on agricultural products such as cattle, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, hogs and of course, corn. Its industry sectors include a large aircraft manufacturing section, food processing, printing and publishing, chemical production, machinery, apparel, petroleum and mining. So many varied employment opportunities has led Kansas to a stable real estate market, with home value averages steadily rising.
Although tourism is not a major industry for Kansas, the state still has plenty to offer travelers, with a history steeped in the American Old West and flavored with the adventurous pioneer spirit. There are plenty of outdoor activities for adventurers: hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, visiting dude ranches etc. Lewis and Clark made part of the famous journey to the West through Kansas, and the state also has a strong Native American heritage. There are plenty of historic landmarks to visit, including Pony Express stations, Mine Creek Battlefield (one of the biggest calvary battles of the Civil War), Constitution Hall and various frontier forts to explore. The two major cities of Topeka and Kansas City offer plenty of nightlife experience such as dining, clubbing, breweries, shopping and other “city slicker” activities.
Though not hailed much for tourism, Kansas has enough to offer that it becomes clearer and clearer why home value and real estate in general is still doing well in Kansas. Another reason is the income potential and job opportunities available in Kansas. Unemployment is down to about 4.3% and 2006 saw 11,000 new non-farm payroll jobs added, as well as more opportunities in the government and professional and business services. The state’s median household income has stayed near the national median income at about $44,000 in 2005. With a low median home value of about $157,000 in Kansas City, this means that Kansas residents have more money to spend on housing – and with the low cost of housing, they can get more bang for their buck.
Most real estate agents agree that the beginning of 2007 has seen a market that is correcting itself and settle in with reasonable interest rates and home value prices. Some areas are definitely more of a buyer’s market, but overall it is balanced, as long as sellers are realistic about asking prices. In the Wichita area, the majority of homes sold so far have had a home value of less than $300,000. With such affordable housing, the Kansas market looks to be staying stable, with no major crash as in other sections of the U.S. but slow and steady gains in home value averages.
Ashley Lichty is a webmaster and the resident SEO of Web Xtreme, Inc. She has a background in real estate and marketing with an emphasis in writing.
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