Wichita-area home sales rise nearly 5 percent in March; inventory tightens

04/12/2013 2:18 PM

04/12/2013 10:56 PM

The number of new and existing houses sold in the area in March increased nearly 5 percent from a year ago, according to a South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service report.

The report, released Friday, said 702 houses were sold last month, compared with 672 in March 2012.

The increase in sales is a healthy one, said Tessa Hultz, president and CEO of the MLS and the Wichita Area Association of Realtors, which operates the MLS.

A hefty year-over-year increase could be unhealthy.

“We don’t want to see a bubble,” Hultz said. “I like the numbers we’re seeing.”

But the number of new and existing houses for sale is shrinking and threatening what has been a balanced market for the area in 2013.

According to the March report, there were 3,206 existing homes for sale, and 277 new homes for sale. That compares with 3,678 existing homes and 288 new homes for sale in March 2012.

A balanced market is where there is about five to six months of housing inventory available. A balanced market does not favor either buyers or sellers.

Hultz said there was about five months of housing inventory available in the area in March..

“We haven’t been below five (months) yet,” she said. “We are at the very bottom edge of a balanced market. If we go anywhere lower we would be in what you would technically call a seller’s market.”

And that would mean instances where there would be multiple offers on houses for sale.

That’s good for sellers because they could get more than their asking price. But it would be bad for buyers because houses would be more expensive to purchase.

Hultz said she didn’t have a prediction for where the area’s housing inventory is headed.

But the spring and summer months are typically the strongest for Wichita area home sales, because warmer weather attracts more lookers and people are more inclined to move when their children are out of school.

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