Arkansas City has been named No. 8 among most affordable cities in Kansas to live in, according to www.smartasset.com.
“There’s a lot more to home affordability than the price a home buyer agrees to pay the seller. To find the most affordable places to buy a home, SmartAsset took a holistic approach, considering closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners’ insurance and mortgage rates in our analysis,” the website states.
After finding the total cost of those four expenses, the site took the five-year cost as a proportion of the median household income in each county to determine the affordability of Kansas cities and counties.
“The most affordable cities and counties were those in which total housing costs on an average house accounted for the smallest proportion of the median income,” SmartAsset explained.
The top-10 list, which also includes Parsons, Chanute, Ulysses, Mulvane, Independence, Wellington, Coffeyville, Liberal and Dodge City, is compiled using several criteria. The first of those criteria is average closing costs. Arkansas City averages closing costs of $2,251.
Its average annual mortgage payment is ranked No. 3, at $2,894.
Local real estate agent Sue Turney with United Agency, said she thinks the property values in Arkansas City are rising.
“We never had a real estate bubble,” she said. “Prices have remained the same, with small increases.”
The one downside Turney pointed out was the shortage of homes currently for sale in Ark City.
Interest rates are at a very low rate — only 3.25 percent for 15-year mortgages and 2.75 percent for 30-year mortgages.
“Most of the time, people can buy a home cheaper than they can rent,” Turney said.
The city also was rated well for overall property tax rate.
“Arkansas City often gets a bad rap for having high property taxes, but this set of rankings seems to indicate otherwise,” said City of Arkansas City Public Information Officer Andrew Lawson. “With average annual property taxes of $1,260, Ark City ranks eighth-lowest in the state and is slightly lower than Cowley County as a whole.”
“It’s less expensive to live in Arkansas City than in Butler County or Wichita,” Lawson said, citing the study’s figures.
Local banker Lance Niles, with The Stock Exchange Bank, said the ability to buy a home in Arkansas City usually is dependent on the credit history of the person applying for a home loan, after making sure the person can afford the loan he or she seeking.
When it comes to applying for a loan, Niles said honesty is key when talking to a bank. “We can help build a plan (to repair bad credit),” he said.