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Lawrence homes sales up 24 percent; selling prices also on the rise


The Lawrence real estate community hit a significant milestone in March. It was the 12th straight month that the Lawrence real estate market has posted year-over-year sales gains.

According to the new report from the Lawrence Board of Realtors, there were 76 homes sales in March, up nearly 29 percent from the 59 sales made in March 2012.

Those numbers helped make for a strong first quarter. During the first three months of the year, 159 homes sales were recorded in the city, a 24 percent increase from the same time period a year ago.

It was about this time last year that the real estate market started making an upward climb, but back then the market was being fueled, in part, by sellers lowering their pricing expectations.

Now, the numbers indicate homes prices are on the rise as well. The median sale price on Lawrence homes in the first quarter was $165,000, up about 7 percent from the same period a year ago. Average sale prices should be taken with a grain of salt, because they are pretty dependent on the particular types of home being sold at the time. But still it is a number still worth watching.

Another number showing signs of a rebound is the average number of days a home sits on the market before it sells. The median days on market in March dropped to 68 days, down from 94 during March of 2012.

Several Realtors report the number is dropping because many homes have sold in just a matter of days. That must be the forces of supply and demand kicking in, because the supply of homes for sale on the Lawrence market is now at a two-year low.

The report found the number of active listings in Lawrence fell to 408, down from 578 in March 2012 and from 615 in March 2011.

All in all, local real estate agents seem to be genuinely pleased with the numbers.

“We need more new-construction homes and resale home listings to satisfy the demand,” said John Esau, president of the Lawrence Board of Realtors and an agent with Keller Williams Realty. “It has been a long time since we could say that.”

Now, we’ll wait and see how the rest of the important spring and summer buying season plays out. We'll see whether local agents can expand upon their streak of consecutive months of sales increases. But the report indicated that sales were going well in April. Real estate agents had written contracts for 123 homes sales in April, up from 98 in April 2012.


Let me take care of a quick housekeeping matter here. (My wife’s ears just perked up. She would tell you my idea of housekeeping is making sure I put a chip clip on the bag of Doritos I keep next to my La-Z-Boy.) Town Talk will be off for the next couple of days. It will return on Tuesday.

Feel free to find me on Friday. I’ll be parking cars as part of a Eudora 4-H project at the Lawrence Auto Swap Meet at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. (It runs Friday through Sunday.) Then you can help me find a fender for a ‘66 T-Bird.

You can also try to find me on Monday, if you want. I would look in a dog house. That’s where I 'm usually forced to keep house in the days following the swap meet.


Megan Tugman 4 years, 8 months ago

Completely unrelated but any clue what's going on with the old mirth space? I looked in the window the other day and it looks like they tore down a wall and are gutting the whole place.

MarcoPogo 4 years, 8 months ago

Irrefutable proof that if you cut funding for the arts, communities can prosper.

Catalano 4 years, 8 months ago

I have whiplash. Two days ago, we were declared the second-worst-performing small metropolitan area in the nation. Today home sales and prices are up. It seems like a disconnect to me.

Chad Lawhorn 4 years, 8 months ago

It is worth remembering, as we pointed out in the article two days ago, that study was based on data that was in some cases one to two years old. The housing sales data is about one to three months old. For what it is worth . . . Chad

Phoghorn 4 years, 8 months ago

Thanks KansasLiberal and clawhorn for bringing up these issues.

Phoghorn 4 years, 8 months ago

Interesting article, but I have one major question. How many of these sales are cash buyers (some perhaps out of county/state), who are purchasing these homes as investments, not as primary residences?

Evaluating home sales is a bit of a finicky hobby because you have to look at the reasons for home sales and purchases in order to attempt to speculate about what they tell us about the overall economy of the region.

If people are moving in to the region and purchasing homes for primary residences, then that would seem to indicate a strong economy.

If investors are trying to snatch up houses at what they perceive to be bottom prices and then renting the houses to people who have lost their homes, then that does not indicate a strong economy.

bad_dog 4 years, 8 months ago

Not necessarily. Mean is the arithmetic average. Median is the point at which an equal number of data points fall on either side. If you reside in a market dominated by either high-end or low-priced homes, the median price could be significantly different from the mean at any given point in time.

Catalano 4 years, 8 months ago

Catalano doesn't need a map. Catalano can read all about it in Friday's paper. Please advise what Catalano should be looking for.

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

The valuation and listing are available on the web, but not together. What's not on the web, to my knowledge, is the sale price, but that's probably available at the courthouse.

Catalano 4 years, 8 months ago

Nope. I would have thought Wilby would know that state law prevents public disclosure of the sales price. Kansas is one of the few secretive states that follows this practice.

bad_dog 4 years, 8 months ago

"Their commission is only $6 on a hundred bucks."

Umm, probably a lot less than that oneeye. The realtor does not get the entire commission. It is split between the listing agent, the selling agent and the agencies involved. Depending upon the agents' commission structure, their individual share could be as small as 1.50 per hundred, i.e 1/2 of 1/2 the total commission

As for the habits you attribute to realtors, if your experience truly matches your criticisms I suggest you find a new one. None of the realtors I know would act in the way you describe.

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