Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2008

Housing market sluggish in 2007

January 10, 2008

At a Eudora Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, the city of Eudora reported just nine single-family building permits were issued for 2007, down from 25 in 2006. Building permits for single-family homes have declined since 2003, when 117 permits were issued, followed by 108 permits in 2004 and 96 permits in 2005.

C.L. Maurer, of Lawrence-based design and planning firm Landplan Engineering, said he has seen a slow down in other projects he is working on in areas such as Spring Hill and Tonganoxie.

"Everybody has sort of backed off from the bigger projects, and they're all just sort of waiting to get all of their ducks in a row," he said.

One of the main subdivisions in Eudora that has lots still available is Meadowlark III, which Maurer said has approximately 150 lots. Phase I has 33 lots that are zoned for duplexes for a medical assisted living facility.

Although there is more than one thing contributing to the decline in starts the lawsuit brought against Eudora by Rural Water District No. 4 has been a problem if for no other reason than companies building in the area of White Dog Road and Kansas Highway 10 are unsure of where they'll get water, Maurer said.

McGrew Real Estate Realtor Caren Rowland said she feels Eudora's market for both new homes and resales were in line with the rest of the area, as well as the nation.

Rowland pointed the rise in gas prices as another contributing to the sluggish market.

"I saw housing slow down here when the gas went up because we're more of a bedroom community and people are driving further to their jobs," she said.

Rowland also attributes lack of sales and starts to the media taking a doomsday approach to reporting the housing market.

She'll concede the past two years haven't been very good, as she's seen sales of homes drop by an average of about 24 percent. However, favorable lending rates paired with homes that have been on the market for extended amounts of time lead Rowland to believe it is a buyer's market right now.

There currently are 37 homes on the market in Eudora, and some have been available for nearly 600 days, but Rowland ssaid change was coming.

"This will turn around, this is just an adjustment," she said. "If you look at history, you'll see it's just like stocks - it goes up; it goes down."

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