Kansas City Real Estate
Lots to consider but no time to wait.
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Best Places to Live Right Now
by Katy Baldwin
We polled several of Kansas City’s most active real estate professionals, a local economist and county tax appraisers and compared their thoughts and data against crime statistics and school district rankings to compile the ultimate listing of the very best places to live in Kansas City right now. We break down the listing by: most stable, hottest new home subdivisions and the ever-increasing luxury apartments that dot our town.
In Johnson County, where the total number of residential properties are greater than 216,000 with a valuation of approximately $66 billion in total, the hot activity remains strong in the new home construction industry.
Because of the highly accredited school districts within the county, which include Shawnee Mission, Gardner Edgerton, Spring Hill, Blue Valley, Olathe and De Soto, most subdivisions see steady property valuation increases year after year, which keeps most of the Johnson County area high on the list of home buyers as an ideal place to raise a family.
When it comes to paying school taxes, the Shawnee Mission School District ranks second to the lowest in the Johnson County market, making homes in those school districts a little more desirable when you look at the entire picture. School property taxes are $1,197.36 for a $200,000 home in the Shawnee Mission District. School property taxes were highest in the De Soto School District, with taxes at $1,666.60 for a $200,000 home.
Across the state line, a homeowner with a property valued at $200,000 would expect to pay $2,774 per year in total property tax. The state of Missouri property tax is .99 percent, which is lower than the national average of 1.19 percent, but Jackson County’s property tax rate is higher at 1.387 percent.
The Stable Ones
Prices in these five reliable neighborhoods have held steady over the last decade, thanks to family-friendly communities, pretty streetscapes and plenty of places to play and explore.
Prairie Village, Kansas
Very low inventory, low crime rates, mature trees, plenty of quiet neighborhood parks and accessible community pools make this area our top pick in the stable community category.
Center stage for residents of Prairie Village are the upscale shopping centers, Corinth Square (83rd Street and Mission Road) and the Village (71st Street and Mission Road). Both shopping centers offer quaint, outdoor settings with more than 70 shops, a theater, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and service providers — all giving that cozy, small-town feel homeowners crave.
Realtor.com reports the median home value in Prairie Village is $345,000. Home values have risen by 8.5 percent over the past year and are expected to rise by 4.2 percent again within the next 12 months. The median list price per square foot is $146, as compared to the Kansas City metropolitan area average of $78 per square foot.
Leawood continues to see low crime rates — it’s safer than 79 percent of U.S. cities. With a median household income of $133,702, residents are on the well-heeled side of life. The area is home to several outdoor neighborhood shopping centers and the massive United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, the largest Methodist church in the country. The highly accredited Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley school districts serve residents, as do four golf courses, a host of fine dining establishments and entertainment venues that are a short walk, drive or bike ride away.
Leawood City Park and Tomahawk Creek Park are connected by Tomahawk Creek Greenway, a 4.1-mile paved path meandering along Tomahawk Creek that is part of the county-wide greenway system. Along the greenway, walkers, joggers and bike riders encounter three ponds stocked with catfish, bluegill and bass; several picnic areas; and a bridle path, which is a part of the formula that keeps this small city at the top of the list of most wanted places to live.
The median home value in Leawood is $585,000. The median list price per square foot is $153.
One of the most revered communities of Johnson County is Fairway. Incorporated in 1949, the popular community’s proximity to the Country Club Plaza and downtown makes home values consistently rise.
According to realtor.com, the median listing price is $339,000 and the price per square foot is $178.
The Fairway Shops on Shawnee Mission Parkway, Neale Peterson Park, the Fairway Pool at 61st Street and Mission Road and the Shawnee Indian Mission Site at 53rd Street and Mission Road are amenities that add to the quality of life there.
A quick commute to the downtown area, just 19 minutes on average — plus access to the highly rated Olathe, Shawnee Mission and De Soto Schools — and plenty of new construction of single-family homes makes Lenexa a strong contender as a stable real estate investment. There are also close amenities such as boating, fishing, swimming and hiking at Black Hoof and Shawnee Mission parks, amenities that are perfect for growing families.
Lenexa hosts a variety of annual events, including the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and the Lenexa Chili Challenge. It also has the culinary distinction of being the Spinach Capital of the World, which it celebrates with an annual Spinach Festival in September.
Also of interest is the curious fact that Lenexa has more residents who work in technology and math than 95 percent of the places in the U.S., according to neighborhoodscout.com.
The median listing price is $394,000 with $139-per-square-foot properties in the Lenexa area. Lenexa’s residents tend to be slightly younger with a median age of 37. Fifty-four percent report some college education, compared to the national average of 22 percent for all cities and towns.
Home to Kansas City, Missouri’s first “suburban” shopping area and approximately 11,000 residents, this close-knit community boasts a median household income of $100,000. Home buyers who love older homes and short walks to local shops and dining gravitate to Brookside, which boasts more than 70 shops, restaurants and offices. It also hosts the nationally recognized annual Brookside Art Annual and the St. Patrick’s Day Warm-up Parade.
In 2016, the median sales price was $352,500 for homes in the Brookside area and the average time on the market was 34 days.