Archive for Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Buyers’ market or sellers’ market

May 3, 2000

Where once farmers plowed fields and children flew kites, row upon row of houses now stand.

One can only look at the for-sale signs lining the new streets and wonder: Is this a buyers' market or a sellers' market?

"I hope it's a sellers' market," said Mark Himpel, a 20-year builder and one of the investors of the up-and-coming Stone Creek subdivision.

Himpel's hope is probably a reality, said a Lawrence realtor.

Ric Burke, McGrew Realtors, said Johnson County residents recently bought two houses in Tonganoxie's Eagle Valley subdivision, a trend he said he thinks will continue.

"There are plenty of buyers from Johnson County migrating out to the smaller towns and I think Tonganoxie's in a position where there's going to be a lot of that," Burke said.

"People like the Tonganoxie school district, they like the small-town atmosphere and they like what's going on in Tonganoxie these days," he added.

Meanwhile, Himpel, who also owns the South Park subdivision, south of Stone Creek, said he started this week on construction of 10 townhouses in Stone Creek.

"They should be ready for the fall market," he said.

The first phase of Stone Creek's development will allow for the construction of 40 townhouses, as well as other development, said Art Hancock, one of the developers.

Local investors, as well as outside investors, have contacted Hancock about building townhouses.

Himpel said, because the individual townhouse units sell for about $70,000, the price is right for first-time homeowners.

Also, Hancock added, there's plenty of need for rental property, which works out well for townhouses.

Although lots haven't been officially sold yet at Stone Creek because it's only just now that the streets are being finished, all three of the local developers Himpel, Hancock and Jack Willis said they think the lots will sell fast.

And then what's next for the 135-acre subdivision?

This year the land not yet developed will be farmed.

Meanwhile, in the short 16 months since the developers signed the dotted line to purchase the property, they've learned a lot, all of them said.

The project, planned to be phased in over a 10-year period, probably won't make money for the developers for a while.

"We anticipate we'll be about two-thirds of the way through before we start seeing a profit," Himpel said.

"But we knew going in how it would be."

Himpel reached into his pocket, pulled out a dollar bill, and said, "But hey we've all got a dollar or two in our pockets."

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