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Kansas home buyers should shop around for the best mortgage rates to make buying more affordable. Even a small difference in interest rates can cost thousands when repaying off a large mortgage loan over many years, so it's best to get quotes from at least three mortgage lenders to find the most competitively priced loan.
When looking for a home to buy, consider the affordability of your location. Here are five places in Kansas that have been recognized for their low cost of living.
Topeka is one of the most affordable urban areas in the U.S., coming in at No. 12 on Niche's list of cities with the lowest cost of living. It's also a great place to buy a home, ranked 17 out of 228 on Niche's list of the best cities in America to buy a house. The 56% of residents who own their own homes benefit from a low median home value of $103,200, compared to the national average of $217,500. Property taxes in Shawnee County are relatively high though, coming in at an average of 1.49% of home's assessed fair market value, according to Tax-rates.org.
Wichita isn't quite as affordable as Topeka, taking No. 17 place on Niche’s list of the cities with the lowest cost of living in America. However, it's among the top 30 cities in which to buy a house, and it has also been recognized as a great place to retire. Wichita offers plenty of recreational opportunities, including the science-centric Exploration Place, the Sedgwick Zoo, and Wichita Gardens, a botanical garden where you can enjoy butterflies in their natural habitat. Median home values are a bit higher in Wichita than Topeka at $133,400. Still, 59% of residents are homeowners. And the property tax rate of 1.25% of assessed fair market value in Sedgwick County is a bit below what Topeka residents pay, so homeowners can find some savings there.
Kansas City has been recognized as one of the most diverse cities in America, and it's also fairly affordable, coming in at No. 22 on Niche's list of cities with the lowest cost of living. Here, 56% of residents own homes, which have a median value of $95,600. The city is in Wyandotte County, where property tax rates are fairly high at 1.64% of a home's assessed fair market value.
Overland Park is far from the bargain of the other cities mentioned, but it's still the 90th cheapest city in America when comparing cost of living, according to Niche. All the same, it's been named as the single best place to buy a house in the entire country. That's the case despite a median home value of $276,100, and a high median property tax rate of 1.27% of assessed fair market value. The suburban feel combined with a proximity to restaurants, parks, and coffee shops make it an attractive locale, which could help explain why 63% of residents are homeowners.
Despite its name, Arkansas City is actually a Kansas town. It ranks highly for affordability -- and it's been recognized for its diversity and for being a good place for retirees. Residents of all ages in Arkansas City can visit the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum or explore the outdoors at Wilson Park. Homes here have an affordable median value of $64,100, which is likely why around 60% of residents own one. The fact that its county's property tax rate of 1.52% is below some of the other places on this list is another factor in favor of choosing Arkansas City.
While most people purchase a home close to work and family, paying attention to cost of living is also important. Buying a cheaper home means borrowing less, which should keep mortgage loan costs down, and make it easier to pay off your housing debt.
If you want to uncover more about the best mortgage lenders for low rates and fees, our experts have created a shortlist of the top mortgage companies. Some of our experts have even used these lenders themselves to cut their costs.
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