There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Kansas:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Kansas, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Sunflower State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Kansas that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in Kansas at the moment? That would be Augusta according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Kansas:
- Augusta (Photos | Homes)
- Colby (Photos | Homes)
- Park City (Homes)
- Leavenworth (Photos | Homes)
- Garden City (Photos | Homes)
- Paola (Photos | Homes)
- Abilene (Photos | Homes)
- Salina (Photos | Homes)
- Wichita (Photos | Homes)
- Mulvane (Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Kansas?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Kansas. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Kansas with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Kansas with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 664 cities and towns in Kansas, only 10 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 10 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that Augusta is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Sunflower State.
Read on for more on these places.
The confluence of the Whitewater River and the Walnut River was originally inhabited by Osage people, who found the land ideal for hunting and fishing.
In 1882, a post office was established near the center of Thomas County. Area homesteaders lived under harsh conditions in sod houses, creating demand for a town to provide lumber and other provisions to incoming settlers. J.R. Colby, a local land assessor and preacher, obtained a patent to establish the town in April 1884, and land was acquired for the town site three miles north of the post office in March 1885. The following month, the Kansas Secretary of State issued the Town Charter. Kansas Gov. John Martin named Colby the county seat in 1885, and the city was incorporated in 1886. The Union Pacific Railroad reached the city in 1887, and the Rock Island Railroad followed the next year.
3. Park City
The first Park City was founded in 1870. Located 14 miles (23 km) to the northwest of Wichita, it was at first a formidable rival, but it risked all on the county seat, and lost. When the railroad passed it by and came to Wichita, the town died, and its houses were removed to Wichita, Newton and Hutchinson.
Leavenworth, founded in 1854, was the first city incorporated in the territory of Kansas. The city developed south of Fort Leavenworth, which was established as Cantonment Leavenworth in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth. Its location on the Missouri River made it a destination for refugee African-American slaves seeking freedom from the slave state of Missouri in the antebellum years. Abolition supporters helped them find refuge. In the years before the American Civil War, Leavenworth was a hotbed of anti-slavery and pro-slavery agitation, often leading to open physical confrontations on the street and in public meetings.
5. Garden City
In February 1878, James R. Fulton, William D. Fulton and W.D.’s son, L.W. Fulton, arrived at the present site of Garden City.
Native Americans, then Spanish explorers such as Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, and French missionary explorers in 1673 lived and traveled throughout the area of what is now Paola. Despite these early European incursions at the start of the 19th century, the area was largely controlled by the Osage people.
For millennia, the land now known as Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state.
Prior to European colonization of the area, the site of Salina was located within the territory of the Kansa people. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it was within the area organized by the U.S. as Kansas Territory in 1854. In 1856, a colony led by Preston B. Plumb established the first American settlement near the site at a location on the Saline River.
Archaeological evidence indicates human habitation near the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers, the site of present-day Wichita, as early as 3000 B.C. In 1541, a Spanish expedition led by explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado found the area populated by the Quivira, or Wichita, people. Conflict with the Osage in the 1750s drove the Wichita further south. Prior to American settlement of the region, the site was located in the territory of the Kiowa. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it became part of Kansas Territory in 1854 and then the state of Kansas in 1861.|The Wichita returned in 1864 due to the American Civil War and established a settlement on the banks of the Little Arkansas. During this period, trader Jesse Chisholm established a trading post at the site, one of several along a trail extending south to Texas which became known as the Chisholm Trail. After the war, the Wichita permanently relocated south to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).
Mulvane was laid out in 1879 at the junction of five Santa Fe rail lines. It is named for Joab R. Mulvane, a railroad official who was instrumental in bringing the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad to Mulvane.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Kansas
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Kansas. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 664 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Kansas reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Kansas