April home sales in Kansas reached record-breaking levels, up 42.5 percent from the same month in 2009, according to a state analyst.
And based on pending sales figures, May and June could be even bigger months. But watch out for the second half of the year.
State sales totaled 3,242 units in April, up from 2,275 in April 2009, according to statistics compiled by the Wichita State Center for Real Estate for the Kansas Association of Realtors.
Brian Jones, broker and owner of Jones Heritage Realtors in Pittsburg and the president of the KAR, attributed the increase to the April 30 homebuyer tax credit deadline, which required contracts to be completed by the end of last month and closed by June 30 to qualify.
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First-time buyers could get $8,000, and repeat buyers $6,500.
April was a record-breaking month, said Gary Walker, residential general manager for J.P. Weigand & Sons, a regional brokerage based in Wichita.
"We've been hopeful about April for a long time, but we broke a company record for sales by 41 percent," Walker said.
Wichita pending sales numbers suggest more records will fall over the next two months, said Stan Longhofer, director of the WSU real estate center.
"The numbers we have on deals under contract that haven't closed are the largest on record dating back to 1998," he said. "I'd be shocked if there was any period previously that was any better."
That's the good news. But once June 30 passes, the state real estate market may slow dramatically, the experts said.
"It's certainly too far in advance to say with any certainty, but I expect that the July, August and September numbers are going to be abysmal," Longhofer said.
"The sharp sales increases we've seen over this spring and early summer will primarily reflect the pulling forward of people who were going to buy anyway so those contracts got written before the (tax credit) deadline."
Walker said early evidence suggests a market downturn once the tax credit deals close June 30.
"Unfortunately, I agree with just about everything he (Longhofer) said, word for word," Walker said.
"The feedback we were getting from agents at the time (in April) seemed like relatively little activity tied to the tax credits, maybe less than 25 percent. So I was hopeful that the sharp business downturn that I had predicted last year wouldn't happen."
The Wichita market won't end badly for brokers, both men said: Sales numbers should be solid in 2010.
"I think that our numbers will end up up by the end of the year in Wichita," Longhofer said, "but those numbers will have a sharp whipsaw: a sharp increase, a sharp decrease, then a normal pattern."
Longhofer and the KAR have blended the sales data from 20 different multiple listing services in the state into a monthly state report.