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Topeka, Kansas  –  The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and reported today that Topeka, Kansas, has been recognized as the No. 1 housing market in the United States, according to their latest quarterly Emerging Housing Markets Index. Topeka has regularly appeared in the rankings since 2019. This is the first time the city has taken the top spot.


The Wall Street Journal reported “that the housing market is on track for its slowest year in more than a decade as higher mortgage rates have made it difficult for home buyers to afford homes.” Topeka’s continued success in this down market can be attributed to the strength of its local economy—bolstered by an unemployment rate of 2.9%, which is below the national average of 3.9%—as well as appealing lifestyle amenities and strong educational options offered through excellent public schools and Washburn University.


Topeka’s housing market stands out with home prices significantly below the national median, drawing in new residents who are feeling the pinch of record-high home prices and mortgage costs that are at a two-decade high. The Wall Street Journal reported that people are flocking to Topeka from nearby Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. Del-Metrius Herron, a real-estate agent at Keller Williams Realty in Topeka told The WSJ, “They are being priced out of those markets. Some buyers are also moving from out of state.”


Abbey Wostal, broker-owner at the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wostal Realty in Topeka, also shared with The Journal the value Topeka offers to people relocating from the coasts: “Gosh, if you’re on the coasts, historically you’re paying more over the asking price than what our median price is for the whole entire house,” she said. “We have seen a ton of cash in the last few years.”


The Wall Street Journal profiled Steven and Krystal Perry, who relocated to Topeka last year from Bellingham, Washington. Steven Perry told The WSJ, “I just googled, ‘cheapest cost-of-living areas. We were open to anything. We knew that it would be slower paced, which we were looking for. We’re both stoked. We love it here.”


Matt Pivarnik, CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership, expressed his enthusiasm about the ranking. “This is big. To be recognized as the top housing market in the United States is tremendous and a testament to the dedication of our community,” he said. “For four years running, Topeka has consistently ranked among the top U.S. housing markets, and this new data reaffirms just how attractive Topeka has become to new residents from across the region and country. Now we need to work on attracting new housing developers to help us keep up with demand.”


“Topeka’s exceptional quality of life, affordable cost of living, top-ranked educational opportunities, and more make our city a fantastic destination for those looking to build a fulfilling life,” added Trina Goss, director of business and talent initiatives for GO Topeka, which administers the Choose Topeka talent attraction program. “This top ranking really demonstrates the enduring appeal of Topeka as a place to live and work.”