Thinking about buying a home in eastern Lawrence?
It might be a good investment. Property values are going up there - between 8 percent and 10 percent this year - more than anywhere else in Lawrence.
That's what Douglas County Appraiser Marion Johnson said Thursday during an online chat on the Journal-World's Web site.
"The properties in the eastern part of the City of Lawrence have increased at a greater percentage in recent years than other parts of the city," Johnson wrote.
"The main factor in my opinion is the fact that new housing stock in the city has increased dramatically and many first-time homebuyers cannot afford to purchase a new house," he wrote.
"What this has done has created a demand for the older housing stock in the eastern part of the city," Johnson wrote. "As the demand for housing stock in this area has increased so have the prices that people are willing to pay for the houses in that area. As the sale prices go up, then we in turn have to raise the values to keep up with the market."
Johnson recently mailed new valuations to property owners throughout the county. Overall, valuations went up about 8.4 percent. While most Lawrence property values increased in the 4 percent to 6 percent range, eastern Lawrence property values went up between 8 percent and 10 percent this year, he said.
During the chat, Johnson responded to more than two dozen questions, including several about the process that is used to assess the value of a home. His office is charged with updating valuations each year on residential, agricultural and commercial property.
"The valuations are determined by the sale price. We do track list prices in my office but the sale price is what is used to determine values," he wrote.
He also explained how to protest the valuation that his office assigned to your property.
"The easiest way to protest your value is to fill out the form on the back of the valuation notice and mail it into the appraiser's office. We will then schedule you an informal hearing with a member of my staff. At the hearing you will need to bring some documentation to support what you think the value of your property is," he said.
To read the entire chat transcript, see video clips and provide your own comments, go to www2.ljworld.com/news/chats/newsmakers/.