Perhaps you noticed that the recently-published list of top construction projects in Lawrence included two $1 million-plus homes.
Well, here’s another sign that the big wheels in the Lawrence real estate market may be starting to turn again:
The developers of the Fall Creek Farms project — one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in the city — are ready to start a new phase of development for the first time in about a decade. Plans call for about 70 new lots to be opened up.
The development is just south and west of Kasold Drive and Peterson Road, and it has its fair share of million-dollar homes. Some of the city’s top executives have called the neighborhood home, and KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self once did as well.
Now the development group, which is led by longtime builder Gene Fritzel, plans to open up four new mini-neighborhoods within the development, and several of them will come in at price points less than what Fall Creek has become known for.
John Esau and Carl Cline of the Lawrence branch of Keller Williams Real Estate are marketing the property. Esau said the development is offering lots to builders in four different price ranges:
• $55,000 to $65,000 lots for homes in the $350,000 to $450,000 range.
• $65,000 to $75,000 lots with homes in the $400,000 to $650,000 range.
• $100,000 to $125,000 lots for homes in the $650,000 to $1 million range
• $165,000 and up lots with homes above the $1 million mark.
If you have been in the Fall Creek Farms neighborhood, you might remember that there is a roundabout near the center of the development. Esau said the new construction will take place west of that roundabout and will stretch all the way to Monterey Way. Streets and utilities already have been installed for the new phase of development. In fact, the streets have been there largely unused for a number of years.
Esau said the timing seems to be right for the new development. He’s convinced that pent-up demand in the Lawrence real estate market is starting to surface.
“We’re hearing from customers that they want to build,” Esau said. “There is some renewed confidence. People have sat through three or four years of uncertainty or decline, and now they are realizing that if they are ever going to do this, now is the time.”
The most recent building permits numbers we reported showed that through November home building has increased by about 30 percent from the dismal totals of the past few years.
Real estate sales numbers also are showing some signs of improvement. The latest numbers I have are through October. They show total home sales are up 26.5 percent from the same period a year ago. In all, local agents have sold 784 homes this year. Sales of newly constructed homes are up 27.3 percent, totaling 70 sales for the year. The only down number is one that buyers probably won’t mind: Selling prices are down significantly. The median sale price on a home is down 5.9 percent to $158,250. Selling prices for newly constructed homes, however, are up 8.6 percent to an average of $265,000.
I should be getting November sales numbers in another week or so.