Looking to buy a home in Wichita? Expect rising prices, fewer options, forecast says

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Wichita area next year, you’ll probably have to move quickly.

“If you’re not prepared to look at it on the day it comes out on the market . . . you might lose out on it,” said Stan Longhofer, director of the Center for Real Estate at Wichita State University.

According to the Center for Real Estate’s 2019 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast, released Tuesday, buyers looking to purchase a home in the Wichita area will continue to find tight inventories of existing homes for sale, and practically no increase in the pace of new home construction.

Still, overall sales are expected to rise 1.4 percent to 10,640 houses, the forecast said.

Inventories for used houses will be tightest among those priced between $150,000 and $250,000, which Longhofer said is “the meat of the market.”

“That’s really the most popular price range,” he said.

What’s more, overall home prices in the Wichita metro area — Butler, Harvey, Kingman, Sedgwick and Sumner counties — are projected to rise 4.6 percent in 2019. That’s after a 3.8 percent price increase this year, the forecast said.

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My Home: This WaterWalk condo has double the space


Frank Russold gives a tour of his condo at WaterWalk Place, which doubled in size a few years ago when he purchased an adjacent unit. It’s a hip spot with unparalleled views of downtown fireworks. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

By McClatchy

The increase in home prices, the forecast said, will continue to be driven by the inventory of homes for sale, which will be well below a three months supply. Nationally, inventories of homes available for sale is now above four months, the forecast said.

As for construction of new homes, the pace of that work is expected to remain flat: About 1,040 new homes will be built in 2019. The forecast said that will make the sixth consecutive year for new home construction at around the 1,000 mark.

Longhofer said that’s because the price of materials to build houses has been increasing at a faster pace than home prices. And home builders have struggled to find enough workers to build them. That means the workers they do have are earning higher pay.

And with the cost of materials increasing, partly from tariffs and partly from the effects of recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence, Longhofer said buyers are going to find that they’re going to get more for their money in the $150,000 to $250,000 range by buying used over new.

“It’s sometimes easier to buy a home that’s two or three years old … and get a little more home for your money,” he said.

Sales of homes priced $500,000 and above, however, are expected to continue to be soft.

“Those homes are still sitting a long time,” Longhofer said. “It’s always been a thinner market . . . and we’re not seeing the kind of price appreciation on the upper end that we are seeing in the middle of the market.”

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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Wichita school warns students about ‘happy crack’

The Wichita Eagle reports the candy is Kool-Aid mixed with sugar or crushed smarties. The email said the candy has caused disruptions at the school several times.

WICHITA, KS (AP) — A Wichita middle school is asking parents to be sure their children aren’t bringing a candy known a "happy crack" to school.

Truesdell Middle School officials sent an email to families Monday saying the school’s teachers are seeing more students bringing in powder candy in plastic bags.

The Wichita Eagle reports the candy is Kool-Aid mixed with sugar or crushed smarties. The email said the candy has caused disruptions at the school several times.

Wichita school district spokeswoman Susan Arensman said she hadn’t heard about other schools having problems with "happy crack." .

The powdered candy isn’t new. In 2011, officials at a Maize elementary school asked parents to discuss drugs with their children after some fifth-graders reportedly sold baggies of Kool-Aid and sugar to classmates on the bus.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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Rise in guns stolen from cars, homes


There is a rise in the number of guns being stolen from cars and homes in Wichita.

"We do have a large amount of firearms beings stolen from vehicles," said Officer Charley Davidson, Wichita Police. "If you have a firearm and you can’t take it with you, perhaps put it in a lock box or somewhere secure."

One of the owners of Range 54, by Kellogg and Edgemoor, recommends that people buy safes for both their cars and homes.

"It’s on us, as gun owners, to maintain control over them. We need to keep them secured, locked up, out of the way of unauthorized people, whether it’s children in the home, children visiting the home, or somebody that breaks into the home and maybe steals it," said Ken Grommet, co-owner of Range 54.

As a retired police officer, Grommet knows too well that criminals are opportunistic, especially around cars.

He recommends a gun safe for less than $50 to store the gun in a locked box and can be connected to the seat.

"If you break into a car and you come across the safe and it’s cabled down, unless you have the tools to deal with it, you’re moving on to something else," said Grommet.

The number guns stolen out of cars is rising from year to year, as well as the number of guns taken from homes in Wichita.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 219 guns taken from cars and 382 guns taken from homes.

"When they get stolen, often times, they don’t get returned. It’s on us, as owners, to maintain control over the firearm. Keep it locked up, keep it on our possession, or whatever it may be, but we’re responsible," said Grommet.

While police don’t track the number of stolen guns used in violent crimes, two high-profile cases have been noted with suspects having stolen guns.

In July, a Wichita police officer shot and killed an intruder, who broke into his home. That suspect stole a gun from a car.

Last week, Deputy Robert Kunze was shot and killed by a suspect with a stolen gun.

"These are tragedies that we hear about guns being stolen and them being used on people," said Grommet.

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Downtown Wichita will get a little piece of Paradise on Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, downtown Wichita will find a sweet new addition on Douglas.

That’s opening day for the new Paradise Donuts, whose owners recently closed their store at 3107 W. Central and moved it to a smaller — but much more high-profile — spot just across the street from all the Naftzger Park and Spaghetti Works District construction in the 600 block of East Douglas.

Marilyn Wright and husband Hervey Wright III, who also own Paradise Donuts at 10607 W. Maple, will open the doors at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. After that, they’ll be open from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. The new shop will be closed on Mondays.

It took over the former 86 Cold Press site inside The Renfro at 612 E. Douglas, a spot that became free when 86 Cold Press owner Austin Dugan moved his juice store and cafe to a larger space at 600 E. Douglas, a few doors to the west.

The Wrights had to only slightly alter the interior, freshening it up and adding a big new display case at the entrance. Customers who walk in are greeted with a splash of color from the festively decorated doughnuts, and the case also has cinnamon rolls and apple fritters. The shop sells breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, sausage rolls and meat pies, too. There’s also coffee.

The little space is bright with lots of natural light and has room for two tables and a little couch. The owners are planning to add LED lights to their old Paradise sign from West Central and hang it up in the new space, where it will be visible from the street.

Marilyn Wright, who now has a front-row view of all the construction going on across the street, said she’s excited about what’s happening on the block. The project, scheduled to be done by next fall, will include the redevelopment of Naftzger Park, the addition of 41 new apartments in the old Spaghetti Works building and the construction of a new office and retail complex that’s expected to have four to five new restaurants.

“It’s going to be great when they get in there,” she said. “The more businesses down here, the better.”

Marilyn Wright said she’s also looking forward to the opening of the new Cargill building not too far away.

Paradise will likely add some evening hours for Final Fridays, she said, and it may add more evening hours in the future.

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A tour of the future Spaghetti Works site


The Spaghetti Works District on E. Douglas will be home to at least four restaurants.

By Courtesy of the Spaghetti Works District

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Build-Outs Of Summer: Little Lion Ice Cream In Wichita, KS

I scream, you scream, we all scream for more Build-Outs of Summer! And in this case, also ice cream. Our next stop takes us to Wichita, Kansas—a town for which we are very familiar, albeit hazily—to visit with the brand new Little Lion Ice Cream. Making a name for itself via some very tasty handmade sweet treats, the downtown Wichita parlor is not skimping on the coffee. Featuring Madcap Coffee, a La Marzocco Linea, Mahlkönig grinders, and Curtis brewers aplenty, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a coffee shop that also served ice cream and not vice versa.

Coffee and ice cream, is there a more perfect pair in the summer time?

As told to Sprudge by Ian Miller.

For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

We’re all about connecting with people and providing experiences that facilitate connection. We source our ingredients intentionally, and seek out likeminded growers and suppliers to establish a community of folks who are working together to create the kind of world we want to live in.

We started two years ago with one cart, serving made-from-scratch ice cream at local markets and anywhere else people would have us. We’ve since expanded to two carts and a temporary pop-up inside another local coffee shop, Espresso to Go Go, where we serve waffle sundaes and breakfast burritos, in addition to our ice cream.

Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

Oh, it’s going to be awesome. We’re fortunate to be a part of the new Revolutsia shipping container development (a first in Wichita) that will be opening this summer. Our building is an adorable pre-existing stone cottage that is being integrated into the face of the development. It features stone floors and a sweeping ceiling with a large fireplace and a cozy loft.

Revolutsia is a mixed-use development on an up-and-coming stretch of Central Ave., a main thoroughfare in Wichita. We’ll be joined by a couple of restaurants, several retail concepts, a salon, and more. The containers and our building surround a common outdoor courtyard area that will, much like a historic town square, be a great place for people to gather.

What’s your approach to coffee?

Accessible and balanced. Straight-forward and free of pretense. Fun and serious. We are passionate about making the best cup of coffee possible, but we don’t want to impose all the behind the scenes work we do to make the coffee delicious on the customer. We’ll have solid options for people who just want a tasty cup of coffee and a curated menu of sweeter options for the crowd who likes their flavored beverages. We are trying to be serious about coffee without taking ourselves to seriously. Jubilee, a co-owner, is originally from Grand Rapids and our first introduction to specialty coffee was at Madcap back in 2009. We’ll be using them for all of our coffee offerings because they roast delicious coffee and are pioneers in relational sourcing.

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

Our equipment has been selected to make consistently delicious coffee as quickly and effortlessly as possible. A La Marzocco Linea PB ABR will be fed by a Mahlkönig Peak and a Puqpress. An EK43 will service both single origin espresso and drip options. Batch brew will come from a Curtis G4 and we’ll offer rotating by-the-cup options brewed by a Curtis Gold Cup.

What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

Our builder has promised that we’ll be open for National Ice Cream Day, which is on July 15.

Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

Jubilee has spearheaded our design aesthetic, with lots of help from Shelden Architecture and Farha Construction.

Thank you!

Thank you for being an invaluable resource to the coffee community.

The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.

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Augusta modular home builder banned from doing business in Kansas



An Augusta modular home builder has been banned from doing business in Kansas and ordered to repay more than $200,000 in restitution.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said East Side Factory Built Homes violated consumer protection laws. The company and its owner, Ryan Andes, have been enjoined from conducting business in Kansas.

"Butler County District Judge Mike Ward entered the injunction this week after the defendants failed to respond to a lawsuit filed by the attorney general in May," Schmidt said.

The company also did business as East Side Homes and Factory Outlet Homes.

Ward also ordered Andes and the company to pay restitution totaling $206,733.58 to four Kansas consumers, as well as a civil penalty and the costs of the attorney general’s investigation.

Schmidt had alleged that the defendants accepted payment from the consumers for modular homes, then failed to build the homes or refund the money to the consumers. The allegations constituted violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

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Developers seek city help to renovate ‘eyesore’ in southeast Wichita

A pair of developers are asking the Wichita City Council for nearly $6 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to renovate a southeast Wichita apartment complex.

Brent Hurst and Dave Murfin have formed Sandstone Apartments to purchase Eastwood Apartments, a six-building complex located just south of Kellogg on the east side of Oliver. The request for the industrial revenue bonds goes before the council on Tuesday.

The complex, built in the 1950s, "has come into disrepair and faces extensive deferred maintenance issues," according to a city document.

A plan for the project shared with city officials called the Eastwood Apartments an "increasing eye sore in a very visible and now improving area."

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Industrial revenue bonds are used to finance the acquisition and construction of a broad variety of properties. State law requires the bonds to be issued by a government entity, which technically owns the property until the bonds are paid off.

The request covers an estimated sales tax exemption of nearly $91,000. It does not include a property tax abatement.

Sandstone plans to spend about $2 million to buy the Eastwood property and $3.75 million to renovate it. The 118 units are one- or two-bedroom apartments. The property also has a 7,500-square-foot commercial building.

The developers plan to install new exterior doors and decking, new storm windows, new countertops, new vanities, new bathroom mirrors and fixtures, new cabinets and hardware. They also plan to upgrade plumbing and electrical, install new breaker boxes and add new landscaping, exterior lighting, fencing and signage.

Repainting, brick repair and new central heating and air-conditioning units are part of the renovation as well.

The developers could not be reached for comment. But a letter sent to the city by Hurst said the renovation "will bring a high quality living environment to an older area of town, add jobs, improve the area and our community in general."

Hurst called the renovation "an investment into the heart of the city at a time when investment and jobs are needed."

The renovation is expected to provide 20 to 30 jobs over the next two years, with a handful of permanent jobs.

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BrightWater Bay opens to the public


Rachel Lange of Lange Real Estate introduces BrightWater Bay, which is now open to the public to rent by the hour, day or week. Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle

By Carrie Rengers

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KWME/Wellington-Wichita Flips To Top 40/R As ‘92.7 The Blast’

ROCKING M MEDIA Classic Hits KWME/WELLINGTON-WICHITA, KS stunted with a mix of patriotc songs as "92.7 THE PATRIOT" over the 4th OF JULY before flipping to Top 40/Rhythmic as THE NEW 92.7 THE BLAST, "The Rhythm of RIVER CITY."

“We are very excited to bring this new format to WICHITA. We’re confident that THE BLAST will make the WICHITA radio market even more robust. Advertisers will be eager to target this very valuable audience,” said GM JEFF MCCAUSLAND.

92.7 THE BLAST is programmed by TOMMY CASTOR, who also serves as the GM for sister stations in WELLINGTON and WINFIELD, KS.

CASTOR said, “THE NEW 92.7 THE BLAST fills a void in the WICHITA radio landscape. These are all the awesome party songs you grew up listening to at a school dance, a wedding reception or even just driving down the street. We know that this new radio station for the WICHITA area will quickly find a strong and loyal audience.”

Beginning on MONDAY, JULY 9th, the on-air lineup will debut. Morning drive will be anchored by long time WICHITA radio personality MARCO BENITEZ. CAITLIN GEER, who also hosts mornings on sister KLEY A-F/WELLINGTON, KS will handle middays and CASTOR will round out the on-air lineup in afternoon drive.

Visit 92.7 THE BLAST online at www.927theblast.com.

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Kansas lawmaker says legal team will help immigrant children

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) –

A Kansas legislative leader says a former federal prosecutor has assembled a team of attorneys to provide legal services to immigrant children separated from their parents and detained in group homes in Topeka.

Wichita Democrat and Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward announced Saturday that Barry Grissom, former U.S. attorney for Kansas, assembled the team to serve immigrant children housed by The Villages on a 400-acre site with five group homes.

The state Department for Children and Families did an inspection of the homes Friday. DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel declined Saturday to discuss how many of the children were separated from their parents during a recent crackdown on illegal U.S-Mexico border crossings.

Ward said now that the children are receiving services, the focus is helping them reunite with their families.

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“Wichita is a little bit stuck where it is,” report shows city needs improvements



Some dim and grim statistics show Wichita’s economy has declined while similar cities in the Midwest are growing.

Former Wichita resident and analyst, James Chung, of Reach Advisors, conducted the study that also shows college educated women and minorities are leaving town.

"Residents in other cities that are higher gross cities are seeing greater increase in salary, greater increase in jobs, greater increase in home values." Chung said.

Chung was hired by the Wichita Community Foundation three years ago. His report back then showed Wichita has been stagnant for decades. His latest report was revealed this week.

"There are a lot of things where other cities are pulling further ahead, when Wichita is a little bit stuck where it is," Chung said.

But current residents believe the city is trying.

"There’s a lot of new businesses setting up in Wichita," resident Stephen Kawonga said.

Kawonga and Rajiv Chauhan have lived in Wichita for more than a decade. Both think the city leaders could do a better job promoting the educated workforce here, so companies will move in and people will stay.

"We cultivate a lot of talent, but that talent leaves," Kawonga said.

"I’m raising my family here. So, I want the city to be continuously growing and people coming here," Chauhan said.

The Wichita Community Foundation announced Monday it will invest $1 million to create the Talent Ecosystem Fund, in response to Chung’s report. WSU Tech will receive $500,000 as part of the fund to use for a program that will pay housing, transportation and other expenses for students who want to move to Wichita to train for certain high-demand jobs.

Chung’s report also says Wichita falls behind by hundreds of millions of dollars when it comes to investing in the city. Mayor Jeff Longwell disagrees.

"If you go back just prior to Chung coming to town, there wasn’t an [WSU] Innovation campus. There wasn’t a Cargill. There’s wasn’t a Union Station… a Douglas Place apartment project, a River Vista apartment project," he said.

But according to the report, 42 percent of residents want to stay in Wichita, which is a much more positive number than the 27 percent who said they wanted to stay back in 2015.

Longwell and Chung say the fact that so many people are interested in the report tells them Wichitans care and want the city to thrive.

"I don’t know what the magical solution is. It can’t come from forced government. It has to be the community," Longwell said.

Find more information on the report here: https://thechungreport.com/

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