In the 1930s, Kansas City encompassed approximately 58 square miles, the population was about 400,000 people, and it ranked as the 19th largest city in America. In 1937, 100 builders, who were part of a real estate board, established the first Home Builders Association here, and it was granted an official charter by The National Association of Home Builders in 1945.
The average price of a home at that time? $4,600.
A lot has changed since then, but what has stayed the same—although growing by leaps and bounds—is the strength, commitment and influence of what is now called the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA).
Serving as the voice of the housing industry, the HBA comprises approximately 500 member companies, representing an industry that contributes more than $1.5 billion to the Kansas City economy and supports more than 20,000 jobs.
Three public events in particular have brought distinction to the HBA: the Fall Parade of Homes, the Greater Kansas City Home Show and the Spring Parade of Homes, their inaugural showcases taking place in 1947, 1948 and 1962, respectively.
“Looking back at some of the details of those early events is fun,” said Kari English, communications director for the HBA. “The Spring Parade was originally called the May Homes Festival, and each builder agreed to have their home entries open until 9 p.m.! We definitely don’t keep tour hours like that now, but that was a strong start to what is now the organization’s proud tradition of offering the best in home building to the residents of Kansas City.”
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Spring Parade of Homes, which runs through May 7. Attracting thousands of prospective homebuyers, there are 381 homes ranging in price from $165,000 to $1.6 million built by some of the finest home builders in the Greater Kansas City region.
With boutique homes for first-time homebuyers, inviting maintenance-provided villas attractive to empty-nesters looking to downsize, spacious single-family residences for growing families and stunning luxury custom homes, the Parade offers something for everyone on both sides of State Line.
Back in the day, community outreach for the events was through advertising in the Kansas City Star, radio spots, billboards, posters on buses and signs at the homes. The 1967 Spring Tour included TV advertising for the first time, and in 1972, “the Parade included what was called ‘Step One Homebuyer Schools’ held at area high schools,” said English. “The first year the HBA produced a guide book for the event was in 1988 when home prices ranged from $60,000 to the low $700,000s, with the average price under $200,000.”
According to English, although these annual events are designed to draw prospective buyers, there is an equally important giving aspect to them as well. “In 2002, The Home Builders Foundation Fund of Greater Kansas City was formed as the charitable arm of the HBA,” she said. “It is dedicated to advancing a range of charitable, educational and community causes that help address issues of housing affordability, job training, declining neighborhoods and related matters, and supported through contributions from HBA members and other partners from the metropolitan area. We are very proud and grateful for the generosity and commitment of our members, affiliates and friends, which have allowed the fund to continue to thrive.”
To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Spring Parade the association is aiming to raise 55,000 meals (which equates to $18,500) for area kids this summer who otherwise would not know where their next meal is coming from because school is not in session.
Through May 7, the HBA will be accepting non-perishable food items at its headquarters at 103rd and I-435 as well as virtually through its website kcparadeofhomes.com. You can also donate items at area HBA members’ retail stores and offices (see kchba.org for locations).
2017 Spring Parade of Homes
- When: April 22 through May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
- Where: 381 homes throughout the metro. Free Parade Guides listing addresses and information for every home on the Parade are available at the HBA office at 600 E. 103rd St., near Interstate 435 and Holmes Road, and at all Parade homes.
- Home prices range from $165,000 to $1.6 million.
- More Information: Event information and a digital Parade of Homes Guide can be found at KCParadeofHomes.com using an online Home Search tool for locating homes by builder, price, location, school district or amenities, plus a Mobile Search and Maps tool for searching from your smart phone or tablet.