Waldo Home Sales Report-January 2023

We are just a couple of days into March…and I am a bit late posting these January stats for Waldo home sales. No surprise here–prices keep going up! These are the sales figures for single family homes, using the boundaries of Gregory to 85th St; State Line to Holmes:

january 2023january 2022
Median list price:$260,253$217,000
Median sales price:$249,875$215,000
Days on market: 33 4
No. of homes sold: 14 17

Home prices rose 16% compared to January 2022; and (some) homes are sitting on the market longer. Remember, a year ago, interest rates were around 3%. Still, that’s a pretty hefty increase in median sales price considering the interest rates have doubled. The lowest closed price was $152,500 and the highest was $470,000.

Currently there are 13 homes for sale in Waldo, with a median list price of $260,000 and 16 days on market.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Meet Waldo’s New Executive Director!

How many businesses do you think have a Waldo address?  Chelsea Kapka, Executive Director of the Waldo Area Business Association, has heard over 600 businesses call Waldo home…and about 350 of them belong to WABA.  Since joining WABA last month, she’s hoping to increase membership along with some other goals for the strong, thriving neighborhood.

I stopped in WABA at 7222 Wornall recently to have a chat with Chelsea.  Originally from southwest Missouri, she went to MIZZOU for her undergrad degree and completed a masters at MO State.   She’s spent the last several years in nursing home administration, most recently in Olathe.  Although Chelsea enjoyed working with seniors, she decided she wanted a change in her career, and applied for the WABA job.   She’s lived in Waldo for the past several years, with a sister and brother also living nearby.

Chelsea talked about other goals she has for WABA:  she’s planning a bingo game on Wednesdays at Waldo Pizza that should start soon, and wants to increase community events.  Besides the popular Waldo Fall Festival, she  is promoting the second annual Spring Fling happening May 6, at Gregory and Wornall.  She hopes to get more businesses to participate, including more local makers.  The monthly Waldo business luncheons are open to anyone; details on dates are on the WABA website.  The next luncheon is Wednesday March 1 at HJ’s Community Center, featuring sixth district candidates up for election.  “I really like the WABA Mission Statement—it’s important for me to maintain Waldo as a vibrant and inclusive area.  Waldo feels like its own city within Kansas City—so unique and eclectic”.

Chelsea and I talked briefly about the houseless issue in Waldo and how it can be addressed.  She recently met with Josh Henges, the “homeless prevention coordinator” for Kansas City MO, who has a lot of ground to cover.  The Waldo CID (Community Improvement District) handles security, graffiti and trash removal, marketing,  plus landscape maintenance for the neighborhood.  CID Community Awareness Officers are a daily presence that will report to police any necessary information regarding the houseless population but do not get directly involved.

In her free time, Chelsea spends time with her scientist husband and their three dogs; she enjoys reading and going to live music shows, especially at the Madrid Theater. You are welcome to stop by and introduce yourself to Chelsea, especially if you have a business in Waldo.  The WABA is located at 7222 Wornall.  And feel free to come to one of the monthly luncheons to keep in touch with what’s happening in Waldo!

Waldo Week Starts Today!

So the hype of the Chiefs winning the Superbowl is winding down, Valentine’s Day is over and ….this can be a bland time of year. Here’s a diversion for you: plan to participate in the 8th annual Waldo Week!

Waldo Week was created to spotlight locally owned Waldo businesses by offering special discounts and deals for several days during the slower winter months….while also supporting a local non-profit organization. This year, the votes came in for Lucky 13 pet rescue as the supported charity. The Waldo Area Business Association hopes to raise $1500 for Lucky 13 through a special virtual auction and donations.

Several local businesses have special offers for the next several days, including Betty Rae’s, Eclectics, Crow’s Coffee, Summit Grill and Breathe. Mention Waldo Week when you stop by to find out details. A complete list of participants is listed on the WABA website.

Waldo Week runs from Thursday Feb 16 through Friday Feb 24. Thank you for supporting our locally owned Waldo businesses!

Discussions Underway for a New Waldo Library

The Waldo branch of the Kansas City Public Library system, at 201 E 75th St, would like more space to serve local residents. It’s currently the second busiest location; the Plaza branch has the top spot.  Preliminary talks are underway between the library and the Kansas City Public School district about a move to the old Bingham school site, at  7618 Wyandotte (77th and Wornall, behind the Firestone Tire building).

I recently spoke with Eric Gunderson, President of the Waldo Tower Neighborhood Association to find out more.  Last November, he hosted a public meeting at the library to start a dialogue with neighbors about possible plans.  Shannon Jaxx from KCPS and library consultants were present. The site of the former school is 7.5 acres, and a new library building would use up just part of the empty lot.  The current building on 75th St has 14,000 SF; a new building would ideally be between 22-25,000 SF and include useable outdoor space for patrons.  Inside, there would be a larger, dedicated children’s area; a computer lab, an array of different sized meeting rooms and more storage space. The library and consultants feel that with the current building maintenance issues (leaky roof, space constrictions, etc), it would be less expensive to build a brand new building.  Currently the library is funded by a portion of KCMO  resident property taxes; it was stated in the meeting that no new taxes would be needed to fund a new structure.  No building plans have been drawn up; at this stage, it’s all talk and figuring out various options.  Eric says if the relocation does happen, it would be at least five years, probably more, before the new library opened.  He reports that there wasn’t any opposition to a new building; the challenge would be some increased traffic in the residential area, as the entrance to the site is off Wyandotte and not Wornall.

I also asked Eric about other significant happenings in Waldo; we talked about all the new locally owned businesses that chose Waldo as their home—so many in just the past couple of years, despite the pandemic.  The biggest changes are happening in the streetscapes:  along Gregory from Wornall to Oak, you’ve seen the construction workers and detours as KCMO installed “traffic calming” elements like curb extensions and a dedicated bike lane, .all of these improvements will make this area more pedestrian/bike friendly.  In the near future, major changes are coming along Wornall from 74th-79th St, especially in the busy area in front of Waldo Pizza.  Plans include new streetlights, water main replacement, a new roadway, parking lot improvements, and more.  You can read more details about these plans at the Waldo neighborhood website under Resources. And you can keep up with other Waldo news/meetings at the site as well.

Waldo Home Sales Report-December 2022 and Year End Recap

I have some interesting numbers to report regarding last month’s Waldo home sales stats; although home sales are traditionally slower in the last quarter of the year, prices were down compared to December 2021; usually there is an increase year over year. Let’s take a look at the details; as usual, I’m using the street boundaries of Gregory to 85th and State Line to Holmes for the numbers:

December 2022December 2021
Median list price:$240,000$255,000
Median sales price:$235,000$268,000
No. of homes sold: 18 35
Days on market: 25 10

Compared to a year ago, Waldo homes closed at 12% less than the median sales price in December 2021; also 50% fewer homes sold. The lowest closed price was $117,500 and the highest was $540,000. Note this year’s December list price was lower, which accounts for some of the median sales price drop. Overall, though, Waldo home values had a healthy increase overall last year; below are the stats, with a five year comparison.

Median list price:$264,900$249,975$223,000$220,000$200,000
Median sales price:$276,000$260,000$230,000$217,225$205,000
No. of homes sold: 300 412 377 362 381
Days on market: 3 3 4 10 19

You can see the chart indicates that most of the time, buyers are paying over the list price for Waldo homes by about 3-4%, although 27% fewer homes closed last year. And houses are continuing to go under contract quickly. From 2021-2022, Waldo homes gained 6% in value, and 34% since 2018. There is so much demand for housing that I don’t foresee prices drastically coming down in 2023. When I drive around Waldo, I see several new build homes going up–and brand new houses sell for quite a bit over $300K. The old saying is true: it’s all about location, location, location in real estate!

Thanks for reading my blog! Next month I’ll post January 2023 numbers. Here’s to a new year!

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Big Belly’s- New Restaurant in South Waldo

Everyone likes to try a new restaurant…especially if it’s a small, locally owned place. And, most everyone likes Italian food!  So, bring your hungry belly to Waldo’s newest Italian restaurant, Big Belly’s at 8940 Wornall!

Owner Josh Drake has teamed up with chef Ken Viereck and Jessica Gattenby to create a friendly, casual, family oriented place, focusing on scratch cooking and a variety of meal options.  Josh and Ken have a food service background: Ken learned cooking from his parents and over the years, tweaked the recipes.  Josh has a catering company that’s nominated for Caterer of the Year from WedKC.  Josh looked at several locations for the restaurant, and settled on this spot after a friend who owns Social in Waldo recommended it. There was already a  kitchen in the back, and plenty of space for tables, a bar and parking.  “I know Waldo is a community of many types of people: families, blue collar workers, young professionals, older folks—and that’s the type of community I wanted to be in” Josh says.  “When I picture myself in 20 years, I think of LC’s Barbeque.  I went there once a week, and the owner was always at a table, doing paperwork, chatting with the regulars, greeting people as they walk in.  That’s what I want this place to be. I want this place to be affordable for families and also a nice spot for date night”.

Ken Viereck, Jessica Gattenby and Josh Drake

Big Belly’s has a large menu—you’ll find several types of pasta, salads, and entrees that include two sides with garlic bread!  The most popular items so far are the chicken piccata, chicken parmesan and rattlesnake pasta.  There’s also a wide selection of appetizers, mac n’ cheese, and sliders, available in 2 and 3 item portions with sides included.  If you are craving pizza, Big Belly’s has you covered with their flatbread pizzas.  Jessica makes all the desserts fresh every day; after two days they are marked down to 99 cents.  Daily specials include the popular lasagna (only available on Thursdays); kids eat free on Tuesday and a pasta discount on Wednesdays.  And if you are feeding a crowd—check out their family meals and catering menu for Chiefs games, birthday parties and other celebrations. 

Hours for Big Belly’s are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-9pm and Sundays from 11am-8pm.  Stop in and fill up!

Waldo Home Sales Report-November 2022

The holidays in your own home…it’s a special time! Perhaps you purchased a home in Brookside or Waldo within the past year or so…know that your property value is likely on the rise! Higher interest rates have slowed the number of houses sold, but Waldo prices are still going up. Let’s look at the numbers…I’m using the street boundaries of Holmes to State Line/Gregory to 85th St for these stats:

November 2022November 2021
Median list price:$245,000$235,000
Median sales price:$257,000$225,000
Days on market: 4 3
No. of homes sold: 19 35

Values rose 14% compared to November 2021, with 45% fewer homes closing last month compared to a year ago. Still, buyers are regularly paying over the list price. Here are the year-to-date numbers:

Jan-Nov 2022Jan-Nov 2021
Median list price:$259,450$247,950
Median sales price:$275,000$258,700
Days on market: 3 3
No. of homes sold: 262 362

For the year, prices are up just over 6%; although 27% fewer homes have sold so far. Waldo continues to be a very hot location for buyers despite the higher interest rates–most homes go under contract within a few days. Next month I’ll post Dec stats and a year end wrap up! Currently there are 16 active single family listings in Waldo with a median price of $252,778. The lowest asking price is $75K and the highest is $440K.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Saying Goodbye to Bier Station

There are some iconic landmarks in Brookside and Waldo…places like Waldo Pizza, Roasterie Coffee, the Piano Room, McLain’s Bakery, Charlie Hoopers…and many more.  It’s what makes our neighborhood unique; these are not cookie cutter chains.    They are the kind of locally owned spots that you always enjoy going to; a place where you bring visitors and meet friends; often a place where the staff is consistent or you bump into someone you know.   One of our landmarks is changing hands next year: Bier Station

I first wrote about Bier Station ten years ago, shortly before it opened.  Owner John Couture was at the very beginning of the craft beer explosion: he offered 21 taps of fresh, rotating beers and hundreds of bottled options for customers to create their own personalized six packs. He and his family lived close by, and welcomed kids who stopped in with their parents, offering games and puzzles. Eventually John added more food selections and an outdoor patio.  The neighborhood embraced and supported Bier Station; it was becoming a landmark.

Naty Cardenas, left, and Bier Station owner John Couture

John did more than just sell beer; he started hosting events that supported local candidates and non-profit causes he believed in.  Bier Station initiated Q&A sessions with our local city council reps, fundraisers for Animal Rescue Alliance,  Moms Demand Action, homeless teen parents and various candidates for office; there were comedy nights, silent auctions and the infamous Josh Hawley Fun Run – the money raised from that event went to causes that the conservative Missouri senator is against.  John has always been an activist at heart, and he invited the community to participate and make a difference, as they enjoyed a beverage and conversation.

When I visited with John last week, he emphasized how much he’s enjoyed having Bier Station but it was time to move on.  “During the past decade, people’s drinking habits have changed.  There were just a couple of craft beer places in KC when I opened; now there are at least 30 or 40 options.  I’m proud to have opened the first craft beer/ tasting bar /bottle shop in the Midwest.  The bar has won many national awards and we’ve raised over $300,000 for non profit causes and civic campaigns”.  One of the events he’s most proud of:  working with the dean of Pharmacy at KU to host a COVID 19 vaccine clinic last year, vaccinating over 1000 people.  And in December 2020 when vandals smashed the front door of the building, locals came by with envelopes of money to help pay for the repair: McLain’s brought over goodies for the staff and business surged in support. “Our customers really are the best!  They are very friendly, very generous with tips and they get to know our staff.  Several close friendships between staff and patrons have developed over the years.”

City Barrel Brewery and Kitchen has purchased Bier Station and has a few changes planned: they will serve New York style pizza and redo the patio out front, adding a roof.  There will still sell beer to go and have several local brews on tap. As for John, he is taking some time off- his family is “very excited” to see more of him as he figures out next steps that will include some sort of political activism.  In the meantime, John invites you to stop in and enjoy a brew and  say goodbye before Bier Station changes hands. There is a big staff reunion on Monday Dec 19 and a final celebration on New Year’s Eve—the last night of Bier Station. Mark your calendar! Bier Station is located at 120 E. Gregory. Thank you John, and Bier Station, for all you have done for our neighborhood and community!

Waldo Home Sales Report – April 2022

Spring is so lovely in Waldo! Even when we have spring showers. Are you enjoying the longer days and cooler nights? More daylight hours for house shoppers! Prices were up last month in Waldo compared to a year ago; here are the numbers:

April 2022April 2021
Median list price: $247,000$244,500
Median sales price: $275,000 $264,250
No. of homes sold: 28 42
Days on market: 3 3

Waldo home values rose about 4% over April 2021. Lowest closed price last month was $75,000 and the highest was $450,000. Now let’s look at the YTD numbers:

Jan-April 2022Jan-April 2021
Median list price: $244,000 $250,000
Median sales price: $261,000 $264,250
No. of homes sold: 95 116
Days on market: 3 3

These figures show a very slight decline in sold prices compared to 2021–just 1.2%. Note that fewer homes sold so far (probably due to lack of inventory); yet buyers are still paying well over list price and homes go under contract quickly.

Currently there are just five active single family homes for sale in Waldo, with a median price of $218,000 and 16 days on the market.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Waldo Home Sales Report-January 2022

Waldo home sales are off to a strong start, even in the traditionally slow month of January. If there was more inventory, more homes would sell! Here are the single family home sales for last month in Waldo, using the street boundaries of Gregory to 85th St; State Line to Holmes:

January 2022january 2021
Median list price:$218,500$245,000
Median sales price:$216,250$244,000
No. homes sold: 16 13
Days on market: 3 21

Although there was a decrease in the median sales price compared to last year, that is because more of the larger, higher priced Waldo homes sold in January 2021. Note the wide range of sales prices-typical of Waldo-the lowest closed price last month was $45,000 and the highest was $507,000.

Currently there are just four single family homes for sale in Waldo, with a median list price of $217,000 and nine days on the market.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)