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Lawrence housing market gets MSNBC attention


A sector of Lawrence that hasn’t gotten much love lately is getting a little these days from the national media.

An online report by MSNBC mentions Lawrence as one of 33 metro areas across the country where there are early signs of a housing rebound.

The report sites an Adversity Index put together by MSNBC and Moody’s Economy.com. The index shows that “housing starts” are up 253 percent from April 2008.

Based on a review of recently released building permit data by the city, Lawrence housing starts definitely are up — but only if you count new apartment construction. If you don’t count apartment construction, the numbers are actually down for the year.

We don’t have a fancy title like the Adversity Index, but here’s what a review of building permit data through May says about Lawrence construction:

  • 27 single family permits have been issued through May 2009. That’s down from 34 during the same period of 2008.
  • Four duplex permits have been issued in 2009, up from one in 2008.
  • Permits for 172 apartment units have been issued in 2009, up from seven in 2008.

In case you’re wondering, other towns that seemed to fare well in the Adversity Index were:

  • Vallejo, Calif.
  • Longview, Texas
  • Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Kokomo, Ind.
  • Clarksville, which is in both Tennessee and Kentucky.


bluerose 9 years ago

Lawrence housing starts definitely are up — but only if you count new apartment construction.

i am having a very difficult time imagining who will be living in that MASSIVE concoction of apartments (i think) going up on west Clinton Parkway. what is that??? it seemed rather terrifying. KU on Wheels doesn't even travel that route, so not students? right?

i long to be enlightened.

BigPrune 9 years ago

...or the apartments on 31st street that are going up. Who's going to be living in all of these apartments. I think I read an article that said the current apartment situation has a 15% vacancy rate. I guess if you want to build an apartment complex or an office building, that's okay, both of those sectors suck with high vacancies.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

The buildings down Walmart way have the advantage of being next door to shopping, not only Walmart but the stores across the street. They are not far from Five Guys, America's best burger place. And, they can take the number eight bus right to campus. Close to the movies.

cfdxprt 9 years ago

You know it's an honor to be on a list that includes Vallejo, a city that filed for bankruptcy because the city council has spent so frivolously, especially for overly compensated service employees and cronyism. Wait, maybe we should be there.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Yes these add to the problem of over building residential.

These buildings have no tenants so how can they possibly pay back taxpayers who are responsible for any street improvements and all other demands created by residential living....the list is long.

Neither of these locations need more cars.

These are tax incresers. Vacant unimproved property cost taxpayers nothing only the land owner. Now the property has water lines,water meters,need for fire departments,maybe increase the public school population etc etc etc. which now demands tax dollars to provide maintenance and/or pay for main water lines, water mains,expensive traffic controls,more law enforcement and the list goes on.

Residential property has never been property taxed at a rate to pay for itself. To help make up for the loss retail and light industrial are taxed higher to help make up for the loss. User fees and sales taxes are also looked upon to help make up for the loss. There is a ton of speculation.

People need jobs to generate sales taxes and pay user fees. But people need to have good jobs to have more that just living expenses. If these tenants are commuters then they spend their money elsewhere such as lunch,shopping and maybe happy hour before coming home = net loss to Lawrence cookie jars = higher taxes on the live in town property owners.

If these places fill up that likely means many vacancies scattered about throughout Lawrence = still a net loss to Lawrence cookie jars. Then again there is the problem with people leaving Lawrence, Kansas.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Lawrence is one of the most expensive places to live plus we have high taxes and user fees on the increase.

With all that new retail going up on west 6th street it will likely have a negative impact on 31st and Iowa retail = economic displacement.

Any negative impact on the downtown business district= economic displacement.

No community can afford economic displacement. Neither can Lawrence business operators or tax payers.

Lots and lots of empty roof tops cost all of us money whether they are west,north, south or older Lawrence neighborhoods.

They say this is expanding the tax base. Expanding the tax base with residential has been going on for more than 20 years yet taxes and user fees continue to escalate?

Where are the tax dollars? Why do taxes and user fees sky rocket? Why inflated property values?
Where did the money go? Why continue tax base expansion if it is NOT in fact paying back the community, reducing our taxes and user fees?

We don't want tax base expansion if it in fact reduces property values = unfriendly to homeowners.

We do not want more retail if it is in fact creating economic displacement NOT ecoonmic growth = unfriendly to business and all live in taxpayers.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

"KU on Wheels doesn't even travel that route, so not students? right?

i long to be enlightened."

This may not be so enlightening, but you could, ya'know, alter the route. KU on Wheels already goes out to 31st street for the Reserve, so I can't imagine it will be very complicated to put a WalMart/Target loop into the route.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

New apartments will fill rapidly as maintenance issues and age make existing structures less appealing. The new buildings meet modern building and fire codes that older rentals cannot meet without major unrecoverable expenses paid out. Public transportation routes can and will be altered to 'follow the money'. Meanwhile the older, unkempt complexes will make up the 15% or more of empty rentals, creating blighted neighborhoods and decreasing property values. Unreasonably high rent/lease in older buildings take them out of favor as the new apartments can be rented for the same, and sometimes less. Ask yourself, if you were moving into Lawrence, would you want new carpet, appliances, paint, safe up to date modern structures, well lighted parking, or for the same money a dingy 40 year old place with your neighbors roaches crawling under the walls?

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