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Expect to pay more for houses in Hays

Data from Census.gov

Data from Census.gov

By JOHN SIMMONDS
Hays Post

According to data from the Census Bureau, average house prices in Hays are significantly higher than communities with comparable median household income and/or population.  The data, gathered from quickfacts.census.gov, illustrates what many Hays residents feel: property in Hays is more expensive that other, larger communities.

Though sale price is set by property owners, the Ellis County Appraiser Dean Denning, who is retiring at the end of 2013, told Hays Post his office generally appraises properties within 1%-2% of their sale prices.

Each property is appraised at market value, which is defined as the amount of money a well-informed buyer would pay and a well-informed seller would accept for property.  The market value of each home is determined by evaluating the sale price of comparable properties in the area. The State of Kansas conducts monthly audits of the appraiser’s office to ensure the sale price of homes is less than 10% off from the amount it was appraised at.

Denning says housing prices in Hays are at a level that should be expected given all that Hays has to offer.

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Looking strictly at numbers can be misleading, Denning said, because age, condition, size, and location are just some of the factors that play a role in determining the market value of a property.  He also said simply bringing prices down would be detrimental to the local economy.  Denning pointed out Hays is a very unique market and hard to consider comparable to many communities, as it’s the largest shopping destination heading west until Denver, and acts as a kind of gateway for residents in western Kansas.

One person who believes property in Hays is very high is Aaron White.  White, executive director of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development, plays a key role in bringing new businesses to Hays.  He says the cost of land in Hays has prevented a number of businesses and developers from pursuing Hays as a venue for their expansion.

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One such example is Salina, where White has previously worked in economic development.  White said prime real estate in Salina where Logan’s Steakhouse and other businesses were constructed was selling in the $6 to $7 per square foot range. Some land north of Interstate 70 in Hays is being listed by developers at $15 a square foot.

White said his office has access to a number of tools to help businesses offset high property costs in Hays. He said the asking prices for some ground is a great deal higher than the appraised value, adding if at least one land owner were to budge significantly on asking price, it could act as a catalyst for other owners to follow suit.

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  • SE Resident

    Hope the new appraiser comes up with a new formula. There are many similar cities listed that have the same attributes(excluding bike trail & a money losing Sports complex) as Hays, but cheaper housing. I think the medium income of Hays residents $43,376 is deceiving. Averaging the incomes of NW Hays residents with the rest of Hays residents is laughable.

  • Guests

    Glad I don’t have to look for a house or buy one. What they appraise my house for don’t think that I would ever get my money back. Hope the new appraiser comes up with some better then Dean had. Going to be an expensive city to live in but can’t afford to move.

  • JudyNWK

    For one hays is not the largest shopping destination in in Western Kansas as Dodge City and Garden City offer much more and capture counties south of Ellis and even south Gove County. Communities should learn lessons from Dodhe and hays. They’ve ran up prime realestate so high that companies don’t have to think much before choosing Garden and Salina instead.

  • watson

    everything in this town is overpriced, and just what does this town have to offer????? walmart…. really,, no shopping, no good restaurants, no concerts (wild west fest) get real!!!!! everyone so damn money hungry around here, even the cow manure is worth is weight in gold!!!

    • ollie

      you think property tax on these houses are high now. you think you’re drowning now in taxes. wait till the school board gets done with their bond issue next year. you ain’t seen nothin yet.

      • Parent

        Schools are an integral part of any community. Talk to those small towns that lost their schools due to budget cuts and consolidation. They dried up and died. Families want to live in communities where they can send their kids to schools that have great educators and sound buildings and great learning programs. Between the Kansas governor cutting our funding and local budget deficits, we’ve had pay freezes, purchases for equipment cut, and building upgrades put on hold. I can think of a lot of things to cut in order to decrease sales tax, property tax, vehicle taxes, etc, but don’t think putting tight limitations on education funding is the way to go. I needed some extra education service last year for my child and was told it wasn’t available now because they had to cut back due to the budget. That shouldn’t happen. We need safe schools, quality teachers, and the supplies and tools to teach our kids so that they can do well in our world.

        • ollie

          then why don’t we put money where it belongs–education! not sports and hiring consultants. i agree parent. i believe we still have sound buildings that can be upgraded a bit. but not to the extent this school board wants. this is gonna be a mammoth bond issue coming.

        • observer

          People go where the jobs are and bring their kids with them. As long as folks have an income to support their family , they will stay and the school will have kids. This BS I always hear about schools being the backbone of a town is a tired argument. Those small towns lost their schools because population declined due to no jobs to keep folks in place and consolidation became inevitable.. However I do think housing and living expenses are extreme in Hays in relation to wages, but as long as people can borrow they will pay the prices.

          • Parent

            I have to disagree with you 100%. I have several kids that go to public school. If I were to move today, I would not consider any town without a solid school system located in it. That’s the plain and simple truth. I think just about everyone else would agree that has kids in school or is thinking about having kids. Even if someone offered me a huge increase in pay, I wouldn’t move to a town without a school. If you want Hays to grow and be a productive place to live, we need to start with a good place to raise our kids. Cut out our public parks, close our pool, and butcher our school budget and why would anyone want to raise their family here? Even if a town can’t support a school, the government has the ability to assist in funding levels. Those towns lost their schools after untold years of operation because our state decided education wasn’t important and cut funding drastically. Schools don’t exist to make money. They exist to better a community and educate our youth.

          • observer

            I am not arguing the importance of the school , but people think the school makes the town, not true, it is only part of the town. When you have a strong economy, good paying jobs and strong retail, you will have a strong school , or at least the potential for one. When taxes are affordable and people pay them, the funding will be there for the school. If taxes are extreme and people can’t pay them, the school doesn’t get the money they need But if you don’t have the jobs for people and people with money spend it out of town, you lose the tax base that funds the school. So every time people go out of town to shop, their tax dollars support a different schools business and tax base. You want to support your school, shop local, otherwise you are undercutting your own school.

            On my own experience I have seen my property values triple and the taxes increase by 5x since we bought our home. That is a rate of growth that is unsustainable. Having run a business, I have seen people employed by the school or on the board take their money out of town for services they could have received locally yet every time the school kids had fundraisers guess where they go…. money doesn’t grow on trees ya know. I wish it did.

  • other shoe

    Home on the range???? ” Don’t give me a home, Where the Haysites roam, And the oil wells pump all day, Where houses are sold, For way too much gold, And the mortgage is impossible to pay”

  • Not a landowner

    Aaron White has it nailed… Hays has a housing inflation problem of its own making, through the greed of a handful of land owners. Lots in NW Hays (what would normally be scrub land next to the former town dump interstate) are selling for $30-35,000, and that’s without another $25,000 in “specials” for sewer, sidewalk, road, etc. You can buy much better developed residential lots in Manhattan, Wichita, even Lawrence, for $20-25,000 and with specials $6-10,000 lower.

  • Hays Rules!

    Keep the prices going up, it keeps the riff raff to a minimum. If you can’t afford to live in Hays maybe you should look elsewhere. And the high prices of land North of the interstate seem to only be slowing the new businesses, but not deterring them completely. What it is doing is keeping the growth of our community at a rate slow enough that we can adjust and accomodate, unlike those South West Kansas trash holes.

    • watson

      where do you go to shop .. do you always wear “Wal-Mart fashion” and yes I cant afford to work here and live here.. I know the saying,, don’t love it ….leave it.. and that’s what I plan to do good bye to hays!!! keep ur Wal-Mart and burger king good luck.

    • guest

      This town is a total dungheap..if what you are saying were even slightly correct..how does this justify the enormous eruption of low income housing being constucted and the constant flow of criminals that are being plea bargained through the court and spilled back into the community..your fooling yourself if you believe this town is riff raff free..I’m sure law enforcement would find your comment laughable..

    • SWK Res

      You’re right! Us “trash holes” are missing something that is found in abundance in Hays. An undeserved air of superiority about our community. Most of us accept that our business centers have flaws and we don’t try to hide them. Most of the crimes that get reported on here are on par with what we experience.
      Not having a Salina to run to people also tend to have enough community pride to shop at the stores our community has to offer. It’s sad to say that I now families in Hays that only grocery shop in the community and then head east for every other expense.
      We have nice things too you know. Dodge as a Casino and a very nice events center that has had some wonderful shows pass though since it opened.
      Dodge and Garden also have a nice walking/biking trails and nice sporting facilities. They also still have their historic community band shells, which have been preserved and improved instead of demolished…
      Garden City also has a wonderful network of beautiful and well maintained neighborhood city parks. 3 containing their own walking trail, 3 being connected to sporting facilities, and one containing the city pool and the fantastic zoo. There is also a large shopping center being built to accommodate future growth.

      I’m not trying to brag here. I’m just trying to say that we have nice things too, but instead of inflating our egos we accept that our tax money is actually invested wisely in our communities.

      • SWK Res

        I’m not targeting all of you. I’ve lived in Hays and I know there are some fantastic and wonderful people in the community whose kindness helped me quite a bit. I’m just tired of seeing people portray Hays as a flawless community when it’s not.

  • Uncle Thomas

    What part do the realtors play in all these high priced houses? They enjoy their 6%…

  • nice system

    the key here are the ‘tools’….property tax abatements which shift paying these higher land costs to people who casually, really pay property tax. they pay the land premium costs…and the county has to have higher apprised property values to offset these properties that are taken off tax rolls….. and then we all pay special sales tax on special districts where…north of interstate. sounds like a pretty sweet deal. how about some free markets, and keep government out of it?

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