Housing market boom in Johnson County raises taxes, creates obstacles for first-time buyers

Posted at 3:44 PM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 18:51:36-05

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. – The housing market in the northeast part of Johnson County is booming, so much so that houses rarely stay on the market for long.

Real estate agents say right now is a good time to buy a house - if you can find one. 

"The house that we're in right now went live last Thursday and within 12 hours we had 35 showings, and by the end of the night we had 12 offers in our hand," Real Estate Agent Brea Mercurio told 41 Action News, showing us a house on Cedar Street in Roeland Park. 

Real estate agents say people just don't want to move. When they do, houses in areas like Roeland Park, Fairway, and Prairie Village will often sell above asking price. In some cases, the buyer will pay as much as $20,000 more. 

"The supply in north Johnson County is about two weeks of inventory on the market," Mercurio says. "Anything under $200,000 is pretty much selling within a couple days if it's priced correctly." 

County Appraiser Paul Welcome said the current housing supply is the lowest he's seen during his nearly 30 years in the position. 

Roeland Park, Mission, and Merriam homes are right at young homebuyers' price-points, but they have to fork up more money up-front, which can be tough. Young buyers are also competing with investors who come to the table with cash.

The Johnson County Appraiser's Office said it will send out home values starting Feb. 26, and many people will be shocked to see their taxes go up.

"From the time we bought our house to the last appraisal in 2017, our value went up drastically," Alex Owens said.

Owens has lived in Roeland Park for a little over three years.  She's also a real estate agent. 

"There wasn't a whole lot we could do to fight that appraisal value. It's not anything the appraisers are doing, or the county is doing, it's truly just values are skyrocketing," Owens said. 

Home values are expected to go up 2 to 18 percent across the county, with the highest in the northeast.

In 2017, 95 percent of residential real estate values increased in the county. 

"I'm okay with my taxes going up because it means this area in Kansas City is doing awesome. It's prosperous, it's growing. I would rather be living here where it's going up than somewhere where taxes are going down," Owens said. 

Interest rates are expected to go up in the next year, which could slow down plans to buy, but it could also mean more homes will be on the market longer.