Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Town Talk: Lawrence home sales for first half of year up nearly 11 percent; Americans for Prosperity rep. urges City Commission to dump sustainability posts

July 18, 2012


News and notes from town:

• Well, it has taken about a half a year, but there is some genuinely good news on Lawrence’s real estate front.

New numbers are out for June home sales in Lawrence, and they confirm summer homebuying definitely has picked up. In fact, the summer months have been strong enough that Lawrence homebuying is now in positive territory for the entire year.

The new numbers from the Lawrence Board of Realtors show 621 homes have been sold through the first six months of 2012. That’s an increase of 10.9 percent from the same period a year ago.

Sales in the month of June had a lot to do with that success. Sales in the month of June increased by 26.1 percent compared to June 2011. Sales increased from 153 in June 2011 to 193 in June 2012.

The June numbers mark the third month in a row that home sales have increased from the same period a year ago. The last two months have been particularly strong. Home sales in May were up nearly 26 percent from May 2011 totals.

I’ve said for awhile now that three months in a row of increasing home sales would be the best sign yet that a true recovery is under way in Lawrence’s real estate market. Well, we’ve had those three months now. It will be interesting to see if the momentum can be maintained through the rest of the year.

One other number, though, will bear close watching in the second half of 2012: median selling prices of homes. The new report shows through the first six months of the year the median sales price of homes in Lawrence is down 4.3 percent, to $154,000, from a year ago. That price correction is probably helping to fuel sales, but it won’t help with the budgets at the County Courthouse, the school district and other governments that rely heavily on property taxes. We’ll see what the second half brings on that front as well.

Here’s a look at other numbers from the Board of Realtors monthly report:

— Sales of newly constructed homes have eked into positive territory for the year. The new numbers show 35 sales of newly constructed homes for the first six months of the year, which is up from 34 a year ago. So, there is improvement, but builders still have quite a ways to go before they reach what could be considered robust activity.

— The median days on market stands at 61, unchanged from a year ago. The mean days on market is at 99, down from 100 a year ago.

• We are past the half-way point when it comes to creating the city budget for 2013. City commissioners are scheduled to give final approval to the budget at their Aug. 7 meeting.

At their meeting yesterday afternoon, commissioners got some public feedback on the recommended budget, and it wasn’t the type you normally hear in Lawrence: The city should cut back on its efforts to be environmentally sustainable.

Jim Mullins, a local field director for Americans for Prosperity, urged commissioners to take out all funding for the joint city/county sustainability coordinator position. He also urged commissioners to disband the Sustainability Advisory Board.

Mullins told commissioners that there is mounting evidence that this sustainability movement ultimately will start taking away people’s property rights. Specifically, Mullins expressed concern about the city’s membership in ICLEI, which is an organization of about 1,300 local governments who have “made a commitment to sustainable development,” according to the group’s website.

The group was founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, and it takes part in the United Nations’ climate negotiations, which is a red flag for some groups.

Mullins went on to cite concern about a U.N. provision called Agenda 21, which is a U.N. initiative related to the environment and sustainable development. It has become a hot-button issue in some political circles, particularly with the Tea Party. Alabama earlier this year became the first state in the country to pass a law making it illegal for local governments to implement policy related to property rights issues that can be traced to Agenda 21. The Kansas House earlier this year passed a resolution condemning Agenda 21 as a scheme to take away property rights and as one legislator said “the most aggressive attack on our liberties . . . that we have ever seen.”

Mullins predicted that Kansas lawmakers in the next legislative session will pass a law similar to the Alabama bill, and Lawrence’s membership in ICLEI could become a major issue.

Mullins told commissioners that he and many other people are convinced the environmental movement is intent on taking away people’s private property rights, and the Agenda 21 and ICLEI efforts are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

That brought a quick response from audience member K.T. Walsh, a longtime East Lawrence resident and activist. She told commissioners that Mullins’ “tip of the iceberg” comment was the most relevant one he had made, since global warming likely will ensure that “we don’t have those anymore.”

Commissioners showed no inclination to remove the funding for the sustainability coordinator or to disband the Sustainability Advisory Board.


Hooligan_016 5 years ago

"Jim Mullins, a local field director for Americans for Prosperity, urged commissioners to take out all funding for the joint city/county sustainability coordinator position. He also urged commissioners to disband the Sustainability Advisory Board."

Of course he did. I won't even comment on the Agenda 21 "sustainability conspiracy" delusion. Remember, AFP = Koch money!

Cody Ochs 5 years ago

' one legislator said “the most aggressive attack on our liberties . . . that we have ever seen.”'

I thought that one was called "Homeland Security"

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

Actually I think it is Brownback's social experiment with his half-Koched tax plan.

Keith 5 years ago

Mullins needs a new tinfoil hat.

ssargdons 5 years ago

"The city should cut back on its efforts to be environmentally sustainable," because clearly bike lanes and compost bins are the work of the devil. These people are bananas! Here's an article that better explains what ICLEI does (and what the raving lunatics of the Tea Party see as infringing on their liberties):

question4u 5 years ago

Mullins has neatly illustrated the problem. The only prosperity that Americans For Prosperity care about is short-term and personal. For them sustainability is for suckers who care about the longterm and the common good. Brownback has made it clear that Kansas is an "experiment" in this kind of philosophy.

What kind of future can you expect when you are devoted only to exploiting the present? In Kansas you'd think that people would be smart enough to know not to eat the seed corn, but politically too many seem to care only about the moment. Kansas needs thinking like Mullins' and Brownback's like it needs a shot of curare to the heart. Poor Kansas.

paulveer 5 years ago

KT. Thanks for the art in your yard and also for speaking out.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

Inappropriate and personal attack. No substance.

George_Braziller 5 years ago

You obviously have never met KT or know anything about her.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

Doesn't matter. Personal attacks are inappropriate.

Larrytown 5 years ago

The rule that I follow is that if the Tea Party is against it...then I'm for it. Or vice-versa.

Unfortunately, there are too many whack-jobs in the Tea Party who lack basic skills (i.e. rational thinking).

Larrytown 5 years ago

"And thank god we have whackos like you who think they're the only enlightened one's who can think rationally. Where we we be without you? Easy - better off than we were a few years ago when your annointed one. who claims to think rationally as only you do, took over."

I rest my case

somedude20 5 years ago

rule violation, first infraction (today) NV

Bud Stagg 5 years ago

Unfortunately it's people that use blanket statements to describe the right or left that keep either from getting anything accomplished. We need to move to the center and widen the lane!

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

Your idea of rational thinking is to immediately oppose, without consideration, everything one group says?

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

Which is being banned in Texas. Heading our way like fire ants.

DeAnn Seib 5 years ago

To Mullins: Where were you when a foreign corporation condemned Kansans' properties, including some of the best farmland in the state, from the Nebraska border south to Oklahoma so tar sands oil could flow south to Houston and on to China? Where were you and AFP when private property including homes were condemned by the government and then transferred to private business to build the Legends complex in Wyandotte County? I certainly didn't hear any protest by AFP or their founders when those condemnations of private property occurred.

deec 5 years ago

Exactly, The posters on this forum who extoll the virtues of private property are usually the same posters who love to talk about how wonderful the whole NASCAR/Legends special tax district is.

Some of my high school friends lost their childhood homes to the thievery of Wyco Inc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

No, bankers and real estate speculators run Wyco -- and they're generally Republican.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

What's the median selling price for the homes sold? That's an important bit of information, LJW. I'd also like to know the change in total sales dollars.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Thanks for the link. Up 9.4% for the year is a solid improvement. Good news.

Chad Lawhorn 5 years ago

I'm not sure I would put much stock in the trulia link. According to the Web site, it appears that 9.4 percent growth rate is based off of 13 sales. The Lawrence Board of Realtors report is based off about 600 sales. All evidence is that the median sales price of a home has dropped during the last 12 months. Thanks, Chad

Chad Lawhorn 5 years ago

"The new report shows through the first six months of the year the median sales price of homes in Lawrence is down 4.3 percent, to $154,000, from a year ago." Thanks, Chad

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Thanks Chad. That's a little more revealing than just the change in number of sales. Also, good observation on the Trulia link, I didn't bother to examine the sample size. Lesson learned.

local_support 5 years ago

"Mullins predicted that Kansas lawmakers in the next legislative session will pass a law similar to the Alabama bill, and Lawrence’s membership in ICLEI could become a major issue."

What an elite group. (Alabama and Kansas, not ICLE)

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

Welcome to the wreck center. Doubt there is one democrat behind this feed at the public trough crap.

socnick 5 years ago

The main intent of the environmental movement is to take away property rights? What a conspiracy.

pace 5 years ago

Americansuckers for Koch Prosperity. enough

pace 5 years ago

Use to be a Mullins who worked at city hall. I usually don't post unfounded gossip but didn't resist this time.

pace 5 years ago

I was wrong, this Mullins, different guy, seems he use to be some sort of salesman for Avcorp Business Systems, which is a Lenexa company or was.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

Chad, will you get fired (or your boss get an angry phone call) if call Mr. Millins a lobbyist instead of "local field director".

verity 5 years ago

Sustainability is bad?

I reallly don't get out enough.

Growing up on the farm, we either sustained or went broke. But I guess times have changed.

ThePilgrim 5 years ago

Why would AFP even waste their time in Lawrence?

And why did our legislators waste their time on legislation about a non-recent UN resolution? BTW - what did those nimrods over at the legislature accomplish this last session? Using Kansas as a tax "experiment" is the only thing that they passed.

insidR 5 years ago

Don't know much about Mr. Mullins or Agenda 21, but I do know that the city and county spend a LOT of money on fuel and utility costs. Fuel for ambulances, fire trucks, law enforcement, city and county maintenance vehicles plus the cost of heating, cooling and providing water for all the public buildings really adds up. Add in street lights, lawn mowing... well, you get the idea. The reason the city and county created the position and want to continue funding it is because the cost savings in efficiency so far have already MORE than covered the salary, and will only continue to improve. Agenda 21 or not, I wish AFP would shut the hell up and let our local government do what they can to save taxpayers like me some money.

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

Your city leaders have sure done a lot lately to save you money!

sleepy33 5 years ago

Homes will sell fast if they are priced right. We bought our house last year about a week after it went on the market, and just barely managed to get our offer in ahead of another couple, who ended up buying a house down the street. Meanwhile, the house across the street from ours sat empty for over 2 years. Why? Because they originally priced it higher than the house we bought, and though the floorplan, number of bedrooms and square footage was virtually the same, ours had a brand new roof, brand new a/c unit, hardwoods throughout, and permanent siding. They needed to price their house at least $5000 or maybe $10,000 less than ours, and that's what it eventually sold for. People have to realize that if their house has flaws that make it less than ideal (no basement, only one bathroom, less than 3 bedrooms, etc.) they are going to have to price it accordingly. And yes, housing prices have fallen, you may end up selling it for less than you bought it, that's why so many are upside down on their mortgage or in foreclosure. Housing prices are never going to return to what they were.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

It also makes a big difference what is chosen as "comparables." Quite often, it has very little to do with whether they are actually "comparable," but you're stuck with the max value that comparison yields.

LloydDobbler 5 years ago

Whenever the federal government tries to implement a progressive initiative, such as the First Lady's emphasis on a healthy diet, conservatives always cite personal freedom as a reason to push back. State's rights are also a simplisitic battle cry of the GOP to argue against progressive social policies. So, to follow this line of logic, it should stand to reason that a state government should not impose prohibitions regarding progressive social or environmental policy on its counties or municipalities.

In the next 20 years, a shortage of safe drinking water in the United States is inevitable. It is time that we start thinking about, studying, and implementing progressive sustainability policies within our city, state, and nation. The consequences of not thinking about our system of water supply, food production, and energy supply are too dire to ignore the concept of sustainability.

lunacydetector 5 years ago

it looks like the local kook contingent is out in force......maybe the city should spend $25,000 in taxpayer dollars on some so-called "carbon credits" again to make amends for someone voicing their opinion about scam environmental positions.

Windemere 5 years ago

Let's get to the heart of the matter: who is the coordinator, what has he or she done, what money/resources have been saved, what is the position's salary? Love that we have journalists to help us with this stuff. U rock

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Nobody's going to mistake you for a journalist.

Lydia Reimers 5 years ago

Sustainability is code for United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, which is a very real plan that is being implemented all across the country as we speak. It is based on the philosophy of communitarianism, a blend of communism and capitalism in which individual rights must be surrendered "for the greater good of the community" while public tax dollars are diverted to favored corporations for so-called sustainable development projects. The San Francisco Bay Area has been ground zero for this creeping assault on the rights of individual property owners. Please read, watch, and educate yourselves before it is too late for Lawrence:

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