Wichita is the largest city in Kansas excluding Kansas City, the majority of which resides in Missouri. The Wichita metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has a population of 388,000 as of 2014. Despite economic challenges, including the 2014 departure of airplane manufacturer Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), Wichita has maintained slow but steady growth throughout the 21st century, adding nearly 7% to its population between 2000 and 2010 and forecasting similar growth into 2020.

The Wichita real estate market never experienced the mid-2000s runup in prices seen in cities such as Miami, Phoenix and Los Angeles, and the ensuing crash battered the city to a much lesser degree. City leaders have led a concerted effort to revitalize the city's downtown core, which stagnated between the 1970s and 1990s. The construction of the Intrust Bank Arena downtown was a step in the right direction, though many residents complain the arena has underperformed expectations and has not given rise to the vibrancy they anticipated. Nevertheless, new residents are trickling into formerly blighted downtown neighborhoods, buying and renovating old homes and making the areas trendy again.

Market Insights

In early 2011, the median home sales price in Wichita was approximately $107,000. By June 2015, the median had increased to $126,100, a gain of over $19,000. Over the same period nationally, however, the median price increased by over $48,000, though this figure includes markets that suffered much steeper drops than Wichita and then rebounded sharply. As of March 2016, the median list price for Wichita homes was over $140,000.

Seasonal price fluctuations are moderate in Wichita. Prices peak in June and July and then recede in the fall and winter, usually bottoming out in January. However, looking at data from 2013 through early 2016, the median price difference from peak to trough has not exceeded $15,000. Moreover, Wichita homes sell much more quickly during the summer months. The average days on market in December 2014 was 82, compared to 49 in July 2015.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Wichita homeowners are subject to property taxes that include general operating taxes, bond and interest taxes, city operation taxes, school district taxes, and state and county taxes. These taxes are calculated in mills. One mill equals $1 per $1,000 in tax-assessed value. In Wichita, tax-assessed value for residential real estate equals 11.5% of a home's market value. The city's total property tax rate for 2015 was 119.847 mills. Therefore, a Wichita home worth $150,000 had a tax-assessed value of $17,250. Its annual property taxes amounted to $2,067.

In 2014, Kansas passed a law to become the 15th state with no real estate transfer taxes. The law stipulated the state's existing mortgage registration tax, which carried a rate of 0.26% at the time, be phased out over a five-year period. As of 2016, this tax carries a lower rate of 0.15%, which is scheduled to drop to 0.1% in 2017. By 2019, it is scheduled to be eliminated.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Though the city does not boast the extravagant wealth seen in areas of Miami, Los Angeles or Dallas, Wichita features several high-end neighborhoods, many of them concentrated on the city's northeast side. Lakeside Acres has a median home value of $300,000, with 25% of its homes valued at $400,000 or above. Brookhaven, with a median home value of $250,000, is a little more affordable, though residents looking for luxury have options in this neighborhood, as 10% of its homes list at higher than $500,000.

Top Real Estate Websites

Those looking for real estate information in Wichita enjoy numerous resources online. Operated by a team of local agents, WichitaRealEstateSearch.com features sections devoted to buying, selling and financing real estate in Wichita. It offers an extensive search function for Wichita homes for sale.

Another popular local website is PlazaListings.com, which is also run by local real estate professionals. It features a clean, easy-to-use search interface and a home valuation tool for prospective sellers in the area.

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