Study: Area has good housing values

Wichita is the 10th-most affordable housing market in the United States according to a national study.

Coldwell Banker's 2009 Home Price Comparison Index says a 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom home can be purchased in Wichita for an average of $144,625.

Grayling, Mich., sits atop the Coldwell Banker affordability list, at $112,675. LaJolla, Calif., is the most expensive market in the country, with a similar house selling for $2.125 million. Nine of the top 10 most expensive markets are in California.

The cumulative average sales price of the four-bedroom homes surveyed in the 310 U.S. markets, including one in Puerto Rico, covered in the Coldwell Banker HPCI is $363,460.

"The four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home is one we deem 'aspirational' and usually purchased by move-up buyers experiencing lifestyle changes," Jim Gillespie, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker, said in a statement.

"Thirty percent of the markets show this type of home to be below $200,000, illustrating the opportunity to take advantage of price declines, interest rate levels and increased selection of homes. Encouraging these move-up buyers back into the market is a crucial next step toward helping to rejuvenate the housing industry and the overall U.S. economy."

Couple the study with an aggressive buyer's market in Wichita, and local homes may be a bigger value than Coldwell Banker thinks, a local real estate agent said.

"The thing I've seen change is the expected sale price for the seller and what the house actually sells for," said Evin Alcindor of J.P. Weigand & Sons.

"Buyers are very aware of this economy, and they're being opportunistic in a buyer's market. They're asking for a lot of things from the seller and they're getting them.

"Sellers aren't getting nearly for their homes what they should in some instances, because buyers just won't give it to them."

Even with an aggressive local market, Alcindor said the Coldwell Banker study is a useful tool as she works with out-of-town buyers.

"Only a small part of them already know about the value they can get in a Wichita home," she said, "so I do use studies like this one as a reassurance that my buyers are choosing well."