Previous   Next

Do you think affordable housing is a problem in Lawrence?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 13, 2005

Browse the archives

Photo of Matt Podszus

“I would say that Lawrence is surprisingly expensive, but I wouldn’t say it’s a problem. We just bought a house here, and we’re not rich.”

Photo of Lori Edgerton

“Yes. The real estate market is just outrageous.”

Photo of Debbie Neal

“No, I don’t. We have lived in Lawrence a long time, and there were many affordable houses to choose from.”

Photo of Jeff Tiger

“We did choose to buy a house in Eudora because we could get a lot more house for a lot less. We are from Florida, though, so we appreciate the cost of housing here.”


redbird 12 years, 11 months ago

Yeah right affordable housing!!!! If you have a double well paid income household......if it is affordable for the working class person,it will be a dump or something that requires lots of work.I too bought in Eudora several years ago,moving from Oklahoma,where you could buy homes for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of real estate here. Please don't be offended by this statement but Lawrence isn't that special of a place to live...Yeah,yeah it's diverse and it has KU and it's basketball teams,but all in all the town isn't any different than others the same size,but it is sure proud of the properties within and around the town.A working class person either struggles to pay rent here or buy something in east Lawrence or other parts of town that the well paid people stay far away from.......

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

a Newer (2-3 year old) house, 4 bedroom, 2 full baths, 2 car garage, walk-out basement in Olathe is advertised for $167,900. In Lawrence, this same house goes for $225,000+.

$225,000 -167,900 = 58,000 difference in price

Lawrence ain't THAT great. this is a real issue, especially since housing supposedly NEVER pays for itself as our fearless leaders profess. i think they LIE!

someone told me our property taxes are the HIGHEST in the state. i don't know if true, but it is believable.

we don't live in a socialist society, regardless of what our fearless city leaders want. they had their chance, made everything a whole lot more expensive, and it is time for them to go bye-bye.

Punkin 12 years, 11 months ago

Before we start another building boom of ugly zero-lot line track homes as an answer to the :affordable housing" crisis, or encourage and subsidize further sprawl, let's take a look at the vacancy rate for units already built. There sure seem to be numerous complexes standing half-empty.

A few, perhaps more helpful questions: Is the city spending our property tax dollars wisely? What can we do to limit costs? How much are we spending subsidizing new building and infrastructure in the suburbs versus renovation, rehab and in-filling of town properties?

How many more strip malls and big box stores do we need? Are there vacant indutrial or commercial buildings that could be retrofitted into residential housing? To whom are we giving tax abatement dollars?

Growth costs money, folks, and that cost is often borne by tax payers at the low end of the market.

Don't be fooled by developers who claim to want to build "affordable housing". They are in it for profits, plain and simple. If the City stuck to a rational plan for growth, and limited land speculation, it might go a long way in controlling costs.

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

punkin must be referring to all the vacant apartments (rentals). the question i thought was implied regarded home ownership.

growth is not a bad thing. if you want to live in an apartment, by all means be my guest. strip malls and big boxes pay more taxes. tax abatements only go for industrial by law.

as for the creation of jobs, what the hell has lawrence done to create jobs? NOTHING! how many new jobs have been created by new industry? economic development sucks in this town. is it due to the ZERO growth mentality? what has the chamber done to create new jobs? i just don't see any real progress at all. the chamber and the city needs to be pro-business for one thing. that should be their number one goal. i don't want to see 4 more years of stagnation in this town.

Lulu 12 years, 11 months ago

I thought apartments are affordable housing. I agree with Punkin, Lawrence doesn't need uniformly, low-grade miserably designed environments that make people feel bad. High density gets people out of their cars. Most days I walk or ride my bike to work. Everyone should have to live the way I do. If low income people want a back yard... well, they can't have everything. Soulless subdivisions is not the answer, even if it means afffordable housing. It is a detriment to society as a whole.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 11 months ago

The cost of housing in Lawrence is absolutely ridiculous! Take, for example, the new lofts that are going in downtown above Pepperjacks grill. They are going for around $400,000. Are you friggin' kidding me?!?! You want me to pay $400k so I can live above 'The Replay' and across the street from the Salvation Army?!?! Get a grip. Lawrence is a large college town that offers very little besides drunken college students and the occasional event at the Lied Center. Townies seem to be absolutely against any type of corporations coming into town but then they bitch when there's no job growth. Sorry, but ma and pa kettle's corner store ain't going to create the jobs you want.

As for 'Lulu', are appropriately named.

simple_simon 12 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, that's a good point! Who wants to live across the street from a bunch of wacko homeless-types!! Getting drunk, getting high, getting into fights, acting crazy, whipping out their johnson and pissing out in the open for all the normal people passing by to see (Including children!!!)Disgusting!!

Au_contraire 12 years, 11 months ago

Every year for the last four years the County appraisal of my property has increased ten percent each year. The increase in my appraised value between 2004 and 2005 is OVER 30%! No wonder "affordable" housing is impossible here.

I could not now afford to buy the house I live in, and I am uncertain how long I can keep up with these RELENTLESS tax increases.

Oh, and just to keep the record straight, the only 'walk-in closet' in this house is on the County "Dwelling Information" sheet as being a bedroom. I had to take the closet door off the hinges because there was no room to open it with a BED in the space. Sheesh!

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

Remember "affordable housing" could well mean that all houses are affordable to someone. I think we need to bring this discussion around to "low income housing". Can a low income family afford a $975 monthly mortgage payment as was suggested buy a local real estate broker? Probaly not. Most certainly not after paying car and home insurance,personal property taxes, groceries, medical needs,clothing,utilities and gas for the car.

One of the political buzz phrases this time around is "affordable housing". What is it? Most feel it's the price one initially pays. However IMO it must go a bit beyond purchase price. Can a moderate to low income family afford to live in it after purchase? If it is built as "cheaply" as possible then it may well be a new energy hog. Are the most energy efficient windows, HVAC system,lighting sytems,toilets,insulation and water heaters installed or are low end products the drug of choice? Has the insulation been installed correctly...a big problem? Has low maintenace siding been installed? Low to moderate income people cannot afford high maintenace and high energy use products. The ONLY Lawrence organization building a truly energy efficient house as described above for low income families is Tenants to Homeowners. Most all others are blowing smoke.

At the home energy fair this year the "Energy Hog" used a new $350k-$400k home as an example of an energy hog. When infra-red tools were applied it revealed many energy leaks likely due to improper installation of insulation...somehow it got by the inspectors.

A comment from Larryville: Practically no one installs paper-faced insulation batts correctly, even so-called professionals. Every installer I've ever watched takes the shortcut of tacking the tabs to the sides of the studs instead of to the face, which compresses the insulation and leaves air gaps for cold air to rocket into the house, so that the sheetrock guys don't have to mark the stud locations before starting.

Most real estate/builders companies are only interested in selling houses for whatever the market will bear. They don't have to sell at astronomically high prices just because people are foolish enough to pay. They just love doing it and then blame the high cost of housing on planning, the current city commissoners, unfriendly business atmosphere and blah blah blah. It's the real estate companies(many of whom are builder/contractors) who buy,sell and set the cost of doing business. Oh and let's not forget the plumber and residential electric companies who are charging $80-$100 per hour.

One current city commissioner candidates stated that he is afraid we may become a bedroom community. Where's he been? We are a bedroom community

Commenting has been disabled for this item.