Wichita home values should be flat in 2011

Home prices in Wichita have bottomed out and are on the way back up, according to a study released this month by the National Association of Realtors.

But a local analyst cautions that home price appreciation is going to be minimal at best in 2011 in the Wichita market, which is flooded with inventory.

The median price of an existing single-family home in the Wichita area bottomed out at $114,600 in the third quarter of 2009 before ending the year at $117,800, the NAR reports.

That puts Wichita in the middle of what the NAR calls a fourth-quarter rebound in home sales in 49 states.

According to the NAR, 78 metro areas, or about half of the markets the national advocacy group studies, saw home prices rise from a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, said the stabilizing price trends are encouraging.

"Home sales clearly recovered in the latter part of 2010 and are helping to absorb the inventory, including many distressed properties," he said in a statement.

"Even with foreclosures continuing to enter the inventory pipeline, they've been selling well and housing supplies have trended down."

But Stan Longhofer, director of Wichita State's Center for Real Estate, said he's sticking by his forecast of last fall — little or no home appreciation in 2011.

"While median prices are true measures of price appreciation over the long term, they're not as correlated over the short term," he said. "My expectation for 2011 is that home prices will be flat to a modest decline."