High median home value excludes Overland Park from this year’s ‘Best Places to Live’ list

A fixture at the top of Livability’s “Best Places to Live” list the past two years, Overland Park was excluded from consideration this year because of its relatively high median home values.

For the past couple of years, Overland Park leaders have touted the city’s high placement on the website Livability’s annual rankings of the Best Places to Live in the United States.

In 2017, Overland Park came in at number nine among more than 2,000 cities considered. In 2018, it ranked high again at number eleven.

This year, the city is absent from the top 100.

What gives?

No, quality of life hasn’t plummeted in Kansas’s second largest city over the past several months. Instead, the website reconfigured its methodology this year to account for cities that were both affordable and had other factors identified as priorities for Millennials in a new study conducted by the site.

Among the changes to the methodology was the decision to exclude cities that had a median home value above $250,000 from consideration. With a median home value above $300,000, the housing market in Overland Park was too expensive for the city to make the cut in the updated formula. (The mean appraised value for Overland Park homes in this year’s Johnson County Appraiser’s Office Revaluation Report was $342,337).

“In previous years we never capped home prices, but this year we cut off all cities with median home values above $250,000,” said Livability Editor in Chief Winona Dimeo-Ediger. “We also changed up some other aspects of our methodology to reflect the priorities of millennials…and that affected many cities’ rankings.”

Under the updated ranking formula, the region’s college towns fared very well, with Columbia, Mo., coming in sixth overall; Manhattan, Kan., coming in 16th; and Lawrence, Kan., coming in 26th. And Kansas City, Mo., came in at number 49.

In Livability’s survey on what Millennials want in a place to call home, 46 percent of male respondents and 66 percent of female respondents cited “lack of affordable housing options” as a factor that would prevent them from “relocating to a new city for a promising job opportunity.”

“Communities are in a heated competition to attract Millennial talent,” reads the report. “Affordability, particularly in housing costs, career opportunities and amenities are front and center in the Millennial mindset.”

Increasing the range of housing options was among the main takeaways from the months-long Forward OP visioning process that concluded last month.