ome prices continue to rise and home inventory is down in Platte County, forcing young families to act fast when a starter house goes on the market.
Christian Smith and his fiancé, Breiann Amos, rented an apartment in Platte County for $1800 a month but kept an eye on the market for a smoke-free house to share with their five-year-old and four-year-old children.
Although they enjoyed a few perks of renting, such as, avoiding costly repairs and yard work, the couple grew tired of the rising rent cost and wanted to start capitalizing on the equity of a home.
Upon receiving preapproval of a loan, the couple began actively searching for a home in their price level.
“We had looked at several homes in Smithville that were just put on the market,” said Smith. “Within 24 hours, those homeowners had already had 30 viewers and received a number of offers that were higher than we were willing to bid.”
After months of searching, the couple found an attractive single-family home in Platte City. Smith and Amos credit their real estate agent, Brandon Edlin with The Edlin Team RE/MAX, for helping them find their dream home.
“We were looking for a smoke-free house,” said Smith. “If Edlin detected even the slightest smell of smoke, he would tell us right away so we wouldn’t waste any time. He also made himself readily available–it could be 8 o’clock on a Tuesday and he would show us a house we were interested in seeing. That was our saving grace,” said Smith.
The couple paid $123,500, well below the $277,500 median sale price for a single-family home in Platte County.
Rapid population growth in Platte County coupled with lower interest rates and the lure of owning a home, has prompted many families into house hunting. So far this year, 1,115 single-family homes have been sold across Platte County.
Just last month, 229 homes were sold countywide and another 191 sales were pending. That’s a seven percent increase in the number of homes sold compared to last July.
Brandon Edlin said data from the Kansas City Association of Realtors illustrates that the housing market has been great, especially in Platte City.
“The 64079 zip code usually has around 120 homes for sale in the market,” said Edlin. “In the last three years, we haven’t been above 36 homes on the market at one time. And just in the last month or so we’ve reached up to 75 homes.”
Edlin, who has sold a record number of eight houses in a month, points out it has been a seller’s market over the past few years.
With 75 houses on the market in Platte City, he says it appears things are starting to level off.
“It’s not a bad time to buy, especially since interest rates have just dropped again,” said Edlin.
The inventory countywide is down, the July numbers show.
In July 2018, there were 442 homes on the market in Platte County. In July 2019, that number dropped to 395, a decrease of more than 10 percent.
The price tag of single-family homes in Platte County has steadily risen over the past decade. Last month, the county’s average sales price increased to $315,235, a full $90,235 more than the $225,000 average a decade ago.
Despite rising prices, people are promptly seeking opportunities to purchase single-family homes.
According to newly released data from the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, this year Platte County homes have been on the market for an average of 66 days prior to being sold.
Home sales activities over the summer months tend to speed up. Last month, homes in Platte County sold around 46 days after being listed and 98.2 percent of sellers received the list price without lowering it.
Patty Farr, a well-known real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Dreams, says there is an uptick in house hunting right after school lets out for the summer and before school starts back up.
This summer, the biggest obstacle facing home buyers is pricing, said Farr.
“Young families are looking for a starter home they can afford, but there’s not a lot out there,” said Farr. “There are not any big subdivisions anymore that have starter homes. Way back when, Oak Creek and Platte Valley Estates were subdivisions where people purchased good starter homes, but with the increase of pricing they’re not really starter homes anymore.”
Farr says it really is a seller’s market.
“We have a shortage of homes on the market,” said Farr. “We have a lot of buyers, but they’re not finding what they are looking for in their price range.”
Platte County’s proximity to Fort Leavenworth also impacts the market.
“We see a lot of members of the military move in and actively look for homes in Platte County,” said Farr. “Many house hunters want to live in the boundary lines of good Platte County school districts. Even house hunters who don’t have school-age children still want to live in proximity of quality schools to ensure good resale value of their home.”
When asked if renters were having a hard time entering the housing market, Farr said no.
“A lot of renters don’t realize they can buy a house, so it’s a good idea to meet with a real estate agent to find out what loans may be available,” said Farr. Some loans may offer 100 percent financing.
For Smith and Amos, they knew how much they could spend on a house and waited until they found one they could afford.