The No. 4 Most Affordable Housing Market: Wichita, Kansas

Along with Wichita being the aircraft manufacturing capital of the world, the city offers a plethora of price-friendly homes for new homebuyers.

While some may know Wichita as the birthplace of beloved quick-service chains Pizza Hut and White Castle, the Midwestern city also has a lesser-known secret: an affordable real estate landscape. The current median home price is currently $128,700––so if you’re looking to settle in the Midwest, there’s no better time to purchase a house for those in the market.

According to Fortune Builders, the future of Wichita’s real estate has never looked brighter. Even through the 2008 housing crisis and ensuing recession, Wichita sustained as a comparatively stable market and continues to grow steadily. Experts predict improved consumer confidence, which suggests that the city’s real estate will thrive in the upcoming year.
 
What makes Wichita so affordable compared to other popular cities in the Midwest? Well, there’s land––and lots of it. Stan Longhofer, Director of the Center for Real Estate at Wichita State University, says that because of the sprawling extent of Wichita’s city limits, the home costs aren’t as pricey.
 
“When you look at some of the housing markets across the country, you see a lot of people pushing themselves into a small area,” said Longhofer. “There’s only so much space in Manhattan or San Francisco––which is why those areas are skyrocketing in terms of living costs.”
 
With Wichita’s wide open prairies and land available for new construction, the city has plenty of opportunity for new real estate. Longhofer believes that homebuyers are able to get the best property value for a low price-point. In other words, “you’re getting more bang for your buck.”
 
“Wichita is full of creative and innovative home builders that are constantly on top of the latest design trends when it comes to upgrades, home features or new construction,” said Longhofer. “You’re getting so much more land in Wichita versus larger and more saturated cities.”
 
If you’re into the old vintage mansion styles, College Hill and Riverside are the neighborhoods for you. The Colonial Revival style that these homes encompass will have you feeling like you’re living in a home straight out of the 1920s. There are hot homes on the market in these neighborhoods with price tags of less than $100,000––talk about a bargain.
 
“College Hill and Riverside both contain homes that have unique architecture that’s impossible to replicate,” said Longhofer.
 
Historically, basements have been a must-have for Wichita residents due to the state’s propensity for tornadoes. A build that’s popularly seen throughout the Wichita area, therefore, is a ranch-style home with a basement or safe-room.
 
If there’s one thing about Wichita that resonates the most with Longhofer, it’s how close-knit the community is. The city has a great musical theatre and symphony and according to Longhofer, residents can’t get enough.
 
“We actually go to the theatre and enjoy the community events that Wichita offers compared to other cities,” said Longhofer. “We do the things that we have here. We have the opportunity to engage and interact with the Wichita community.”
 
Given Wichita’s budget-friendly homes to its tight-knit community, the city sounds like a top-notch market to invest in.