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Home sales and home prices both continue to rise in Lawrence
Lawrence's real estate market seems to be returning to its past form, which may mean another annual tradition will return: Notices from the Douglas County appraiser's office that your home's tax value has increased.
The latest numbers from the Lawrence Board of Realtors show July was another strong month for home sales in the city. Real estate agents sold 141 homes in July, up about 15 percent from July 2012 and nearly 64 percent from July 2011.
For the year to date, real estate agents have sold 695 homes, which is a 25 percent increase from the same period a year ago and a nearly 50 percent increase from the same period in 2011.
But the more interesting numbers are found in the selling price data. With seven months of figures in the books, it is now time to start paying attention to pricing trends. In summary, they're up.
Through July, the median selling price on homes in Lawrence has been $168,900. That's an increase of 5.9 percent from the same period of 2012. It also marks a turnaround in the market. At this time last year, home prices were down 5.6 percent compared to 2011. In other words, it looks like home values have found their bottom in Lawrence, and now are on a fairly steady climb.
If that trend holds, it seems likely those higher prices will be reflected in the tax values that are calculated by the Douglas County Appraiser's office. The appraiser's office hasn't provided any guidance yet on what home owners should expect this spring when they get their change of value notices. But the office has been running its own reports on home sales, and it is showing an increase in selling prices as well. Countywide, selling prices are up about 5 percent, according to the county's data.
That doesn't necessarily mean the average property should expect to see its taxable value increase by 5 percent. But an increase is a real a possibility this year, when in the past couple of years falling or stagnant values were more the norm. The second half of the year will be key, because the appraiser's task is to determine the value of the property on Jan. 1. If interest rates rise and housing demand slows in the second half of the year, that will change the equitation considerably.
As for other numbers in the Board of Realtors' report, here's a look:
• Year-to-date, real estate agents have sold 62 newly constructed homes. That's up almost 41 percent from last year.
• Through July, the median days-on-market for a house is 42, down from 60 in 2012.
• Total sales volume for the year thus far is $140.5 million, up 33 percent from the same period a year ago.
• The number of active listings on the market at the end of July was 437, down from 500 at the time period in 2012.
• The number of pending contracts at the end of July stood at 124, which is down from 136 at the end of July 2012. That may mean August numbers will be down a bit from August 2012 numbers.