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Do you think the income of residents has outpaced the price of homes in Lawrence?

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Photo of Beth Reynolds

“No. I think that land here is too expensive and therefore homes are more expensive. I think we need more high paying jobs.”

Photo of Cal Spencer

“No. I’d love to sell my house for what the county appraisers think it’s worth, but I doubt that’s going to happen.”

Photo of Ray Rojas

“No. That’s why I live in Eudora.”

Photo of Lizz Weiler

“No. Not at all. It’s exactly the opposite and I’ve lived here for the past 10 years.”

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moron 12 years, 3 months ago


Everyone knows that outside of KU the employment base in Lawrence is primarily low paying jobs averaging $10.00 to $12.00 per hour.

What kind of a single family home qualifies at that income level? Certainly, not the price-level of single family homes being built in Lawrence.

And, that does not mean the pricey, single family homes in Lawrence are of good quality.



Nikki May 12 years, 3 months ago

I love how my value keeps going up on my house and all we do is keep the yard mowed. But the people next door put on new siding, remodeled inside, put in an outbuilding, tore out trees, and many other improvements and their value went down. I think there is no rhyme or reason to the value of Lawrence homes.

The good thing is that if I refinance, I'll be able to cover the loan I have.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 3 months ago

I believe a 2%-4% annual increase is an acceptable norm.

One would think that with the expanded housing tax base we should not have large increases.

What's up?

neopolss 12 years, 3 months ago

Bowhunter99 - sugar daddy. Definately a sugar daddy around somewhere. It's either that or a part time job disposing of fruitcakes.

Kathleen Christian 12 years, 3 months ago

You mean income of $8 to maybe $10.00 per hour. I have 20 years experience and almost a college degree and still can't find employment that pays more then that. I couldn't even qualify for a house for habitat - they rejected me and said my income was not enough - yet the mortage on a H4H home would have been $100 less then what I'm paying for rent where I am living now - in which (I might add) if I move I'll most likely have to pay close to $200 more in rent. Don't know where you are basing your statistics but someone best look at reality.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

The numbers don't lie.

The people using them do.

This is truth: The average home price has fallen with relation to the average income earned by people living in Lawrence.

This is also truth: If you discounted the people who live in Lawrence and work in another city, you'd have a very different conclusion.

The real story here is that home prices are going up in response to the influx of people who commute to Kansas City, while wages in Lawrence aren't going up to match.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

I live in se LV county. I believe LV co has some of the highest property taxes in the state. Now, to help out us poor folks in se LV CO, they are going to put in an interchange to I-70 to stimulate growth. "Just what this area needs." BS! Can't wait to see what that does to my property taxes! Maybe I can ask my boss for a raise.

Is today's ? a joke? seriously!

yeah_right 12 years, 3 months ago

A year ago I was working and renting an apartment in Lawrence. I was tired of renting and wanted to buy a house but there was no way that I would get approved for a decent home in Lawrence. I looked in Topeka and bought a nice home in a nice neighborhood. I got WAY more house for the money than I could in Lawrence. I eventually got tired of commuting to my job in Lawrence, which was a professional job, but didn't pay like one. I recently got a job here in Topeka that pays 35% more! I love Lawrence but from now on it is just a place to visit. It doesn't make economic sense for me to live or work their.

canyon_wren 12 years, 3 months ago

Since I'm not a Lawrence resident, I can't comment realistically. But it doesn't take many six-figure incomes to skew the statistics totally, so that it LOOKS like salaries are catching up for everyone, when they're not.

Though this is not exactly on the subject, I find it very depressing when I visit Lawrence to see the HUGE homes being built. This is true everywhere, of course, and represents a kind of greed that seems to be sweeping the country. It's certainly obvious around Salt Lake and Grand Junction, CO, the two larger communities I frequent.

Those who judge economic "trends" based on the number of people who make such big salaries make it so difficult for the rest of us, even if we are relatively content to get by on less. Even in my small community--because folks are coming here from California to build "second homes"--building lots in town are going for $40,00-50,000 and local salaries are definitely not comparable.

One of the resources for a psych course I took in college was a book called "How to Lie with Statistics." As mentioned in previous posts, that's what's happening here. It's all pretty sad, if you ask me.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, bowhunter, having 'almost' a college degree can mean a great deal, depending on the employer. It's not unheard of for a company to offer entry-level positions to people (with pay between undegreed and degreed) who are finishing an education, or close to doing so, on the condition that they work for X amount of time at that entry-level wage after they have finished.

And, in certain fields where there aren't certification requirements, having most of the coursework can be a huge benefit. Not as much as having a full degree (salary-wise), but more than having nothing. I know a surprising number of technical writers who dropped out of English majors, got some experience with data handling or computers or software, and are making six figures.

I don't think that anyone here is saying that we all need to have the same things or the same money, or even necessarily that wanting a big house makes you a bad person.

However, painting rosy pictures of a dicey economy based on the success of a prosperous subset of the population, that's not good. When they say that Lawrence is getting more affordable, they're not talking about people who live and work there. It's death to a community, especially one as vibrant and unique as Lawrence, for it to just become a bedroom commuter haven.

It's getting less affordable for the people who work there. That's really not good.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 3 months ago

The inflation situation that we have in Lawrence will soon be knocking on the door of Eudora unless they allow light industrial and housing to grow accordingly. Light industrial pays more in property tax than housing while at the same time providing decent paying jobs.

Too much housing creates a huge demand on infrastructure yet does not generate enough property tax revenue to cover the expense. So up goes property taxes,sales tax,fees etc. Tax abatements must be used wisely.

Existing homeowners make a daily generous contribution to the house building industry yet it is some from this industry who are obstacles to the SE area light industrial property close to K10. Lawrence needs this space in order to at least try keeping our residential taxes at bay.

Eudora will or has become a competitor for the same light industrial and high paying jobs that Lawrence needs. JOCO will continue attracting all of the same as well. Residents who not only live in Lawrence but also work in Lawrence spend more money in Lawrence thus more tax revenue for Lawrence.

Sigmund 12 years, 3 months ago

The city and county don't like raising property taxrates. In order to get more tax revenue they merely raise the valuation. Real estate agents, who get a percentage of selling price, encourage buyers and sellers to accept those values as "market value." When buyers and sellers agree on a price that matches those valuations, they become reality.

So all is well, right? Afterall buyers and sellers, operating in a free market, will properly value any item. Well not so fast tulip breath, you might want to look at some of the biggest economic crazes and crashes, the tulip-bulb market of 1593.

Jessica Small 12 years, 3 months ago

Bowhunter99 posted

"I've heard the term 'starving artist'.... Have you ever heard the term 'starving Doctor? starving Architect?"

I am confused. I have a Masters in Architecture and I think you could be a starving architect in Kansas. I had to take a paycut when I moved here so that I made the same with 4 years experience as I did in Houston with no experience (and even with the paycut I was making more than average for the area). People with architecture degrees in Kansas start at about what teachers do. I guess teachers and architects don't starve but I doubt they can buy a house on a single income. I would still rather live in Lawrence than anywhere else but there are trade offs.

Kathleen Christian 12 years, 3 months ago

Oh Yea houses are affordable here if you are moving from the East or West Coast and have sold your houses there for $3-400,000. Sure houses here would be more afforable. However, the average working class person that lives and works in Lawrence is unable to afford to buy a house - especially a new built one. Maybe Lawrence's goal is to squeeze out the plain working class families and fill it with 6-figure income families -(afterall they will always have a pleather of students to do the grunt work at low pay).

rhd99 12 years, 3 months ago

Oh, yea, incomes of residents outpaces prices of homes-hmm-NOT! The jobs are not available. Jobs, that is that are HIGHER paying jobs. I have said it before & I will say it again. I knew it! People never thought I would be able to nail this one on the head, but unfortunately, my worst fears have come true. The studies, according to the LJW, I think, show Lawrence's economy is NOT COMPETITIVE! There is no way Lawrence can continue on present course, when as a bedroom community to K.C. & Topeka, the jobs here don't pay worth even a SPIT! Without East Hills Business Park, is there a better alternative? KU? USD 497? Am I wrong? If so, then please tell me how Lawrence, the city of arts, has brought in companies like IBM or others to this community. Pearson, API, Sauer Danfoss, Amarr, Kennedyne, thankfully we have these firms. Other than that, what do we have to show that we made progress?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

Most of the people I know (personally) that earn a good living do not work in Lawrence. Sad to say. My girlfriend (and single Mom) with a Master's degree looked for 5 years to find a better paying job in Lawrence so that she could live and not constantly dip into her savings every month. While in Lawrence, she worked at KU. She moved to another state recently. She now has a beautiful home and a good job.

rhd99 12 years, 3 months ago

The other thing, sue, & everyone else that is a horrendous trend. People are working TWO jobs here in Lawrence, & yet they still don't have enough. I hate to say it, but this Bush Administration's tax cut policies allow or have allowed companies to outsource our jobs. Lawrence? Maybe not, but we have NOT reaped any benefits. Our city's economy is stagnant & is stalled, with no solutions in sight.

Stephen Roberts 12 years, 3 months ago

Rhd99, I'm sorry I must have missed the law or executive order from President Bush. Please let me know were I can find it about him allowing companies to outsource jobs. He must be stopped, he should not allow these corporations to outsource jobs. He is the President of the US, he runs every thing?

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Duh, NO! Did anyone actually say yes? My property's "value" is a joke. I've now reached the point that I couldn't afford to buy my own house [now that's just wrong!].

We're all being over evaluated and over taxed!! There also seems to be nothing we can do about it unless we want to relocate.

We need an upbeat, positive post today. Someone? Anyone?

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 3 months ago

Hard to think of anything positive when being asked this question. We also lived in Florida, 2 blocks from beach and it was a little cheaper than Lawrence. No one can believe that is was cheaper to live in paradise than here. We had to buy a home in Tonganoxie because you get so much more for the money. The same thing in Lawrence would have been way over 200,000. I do like Lawrence, but it has become a place to visit. My mom lives here too but drives to Lansing to work. Lansing even pays more. She does less work for 4 bucks more an hour. Someone is gonna have to do something. Why work 2 jobs in Lawrence when you can commute 30 minutes and only work one job?

benm024 12 years, 3 months ago


I think residents are complaining about the lack of well paying jobs, not jobs. If by national company you mean Wal-Mart, then thats not going to help people with degrees who want to earn a comfortable living. I for one would love to see more businesses move into Lawrence, but Im looking for real companies with real opportunities. Not Joe Bobs hardware store or Super-Mega-Giga-Walmart.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

Ceallach, on a positive note, my chickens have not contracted bird flu this season:) That might make my property value go up:(

Where is Ms_C with her juicy little stories? That would lighten the mood. Of course, we could probably make something up. Let's say the story involves 2 males, some Metamucil, and a motorcycle. Anybody?

beatrice 12 years, 3 months ago

State taxes are based on a percentage of federal taxes. With the massive federal tax cuts under Bush (which benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy), state and local communities have had to scramble to come up with funds. One way they have done this is through aggressively raising property taxes to reflect actual market values (whether you agree with those values or not). Thus, by voting for the Republican federal agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy, "Red" states have no one but themselves to blame for their current shortfall in local tax revenue.

moron 12 years, 3 months ago


Those companies/job you mentioned out in East Hill business park are all low paying. There are very, very few people at any of those places being paid above $12.00 per hour.



Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

You all are great!! Thanks for the positive feedback, I needed it :) No bird flu, cheap beer and witty people. Guess we do have a lot to be positive about :)

stophammertime 12 years, 3 months ago

I saw a mouse turd for sale on Haskell...seemed pretty reasonable ($140,000). I make $11.50/hour...let's see...I should have it paid off NEVER.

Lawrence blows when it comes to the cost of living. I hope someone who gives a damn reads these posts and does something about.

I love my new mouse turd house.

I did live in Arizona for a short period of time...cost less than Lawrence...nicer apartment, too.

Ex-Court 26 resident, here...Is that place closed down yet?? Redbud Lane should be blocked off and bombed*!

  • Figuratively.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

prospector: I'm endeavoring to become friends with the r-word thingys. I approach them with a nearly giddy anticipation that the road may be clear enough for me to go the wrong way around. Pathetic I know but it makes me feel more in control -- and control is what it's all about!

killjoy 12 years, 3 months ago

I was sad because my real estate was so expensive, till I met a man from New Orleans.

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Sheesh, what a killjoy. Did that man actually own property in New Orleans? If so, the govt will probably see to it that his home is rebuilt. Ohhhh, now I see the connection -- once it's rebuilt they will probably raise his taxes!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

Ceallach, glad I'm not the only one who purposely takes the wrong way around the r-words:)

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

It is an underrated pastime. One has to be willing to accept the fact that they may be the only one who knows of their brave exploits :)

Earlier you mentioned ms_c, she's falling down on the job! I miss my daily dose of levity!

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 3 months ago

I have a similar situation as you Cellach. I'm glad I bought my house when I did because I certainly couldn't afford to buy it now. Owning a house may not be an entitlement, but a person working their @$$ off should be able to buy something that's not about to fall over. Not everyone needs to own something like Tara, but c'mon, there is nothing here under 100K and most wages here won't even qualify for that much of a loan. The situatin these day is freakin' ridiculous!!! Where's George Bailey when you need him? We've got some scurvy little spiders for him to deal with in Lawrence!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

I couldn't even DRESS like live at Tara...I don't own any curtains!!!

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Azure: The valuation method must have been developed on one of the Dada days! Two of my neighbors, same house plan, except both of them have full basements, and I do not. Guess what??? My house is consistantly valued at several thousand dollars more than either of them. I realize my presence is a great asset but that's not supposed to be part of the formula :) I don't go to the court house and raise a big fuss because I know what will happen -- will they lower mine -- nooooo -- they will just raise my neighbors' amounts and I don't want to be the cause of that.

sun_sue: No curtains???? That's just shameless :):)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 3 months ago

Ceallach, you are correct on three points: 1. County will laugh at you and keep your taxes the same despite overwelming evidence on your part that you are correct. (I've tried this) 2. Your presence IS a great asset. 3. I am, indeed, shameless!:P (someday ask me how I got the hubby to go outside and dig a trench in the pouring rain) Hee Hee:)

Ceallach 12 years, 3 months ago

Was that digging done with or without clothing?

Fishman 12 years, 3 months ago

I make enouh money to live in Lawrence, but I am strongly considering leaving soon due to the fact that housing is so expensive here now. It's really too bad, but it's just the way it is. As long as Lawrence is a bedroom community there will be money here, so the local businesses will be fine, in addition to having the students with credit cards to draw from. I will miss Lawrence, but I also know that when I am older someday, I will be glad that I got out of here, and kept more money in the bank.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

why Ceallach, you darned scofflaw! you could harm a guy's reputation hanging 'round w/you... and sunnyside_sue/public lewdness! all comes out doesn't it!

[apology for two puns I managed...not]

redneck 12 years, 3 months ago

Guess I need to check this more often. The answer to that question not just NO, but HECK NO! I have one of those supposedly LOW PAYING jobs here in Lawrence and I will never own a house here because they are too expensive. I am currently looking for a house in Topeka and I will commute to work. I am currently looking at houses for around $70,000 and you will never guess what I found. They are actually ready to move into!!! All of the houses in Lawrence for that price need $50,000 worth of improvements or simply demolished so you can build a new house. I don't have a degree as long as my arm, but I think I can figure that one out. I'm getting real tired of subsidizing the taxes for the professors at KU and everybody else that is overpaid. This place is a haven for people who make $50,000 or more, but not so good for the rest of us. I wished I could afford to live in Lawrence, but It's just simply too expensive to live here.

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