Overall, 2017 marked a year of growth and prosperity for the home-building industry both nationally and locally.
Demand for housing continued to be high this year, which contributed to a scarcity of homes available for sale – both of new construction and existing homes. By the third quarter of 2017, the national median home price for both existing and new homes rose to $260,000 from $247,000 in the third quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Although average mortgage rates inched up during 2017 they remain at historic lows.
At the local level, Kansas City’s home building industry experienced growth in 2017 as well. Single family building permit activity through October increased 10 percent compared to this same timeframe in 2016 with Kansas City, Mo., topping the list of cities with the most permits being pulled by builders.
New home sales in Kansas City are up about 7 percent year-to-date compared to 2016, according to the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, and the average sale price of new homes in the area is approximately $380,500.
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The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA) continued to host its longstanding events in 2017 — the 55th annual Spring Parade of Homes, the 70th annual Fall Parade and the 69th annual Greater Kansas City Home Show. With more than 650 homes on display during the second largest Parade of Homes in the country, attendees saw a variety of floor plans in a range of prices across the KC metro. The Home Show drew a large crowd as it provided attendees with the high-quality talent they have become accustomed to seeing on the HBA’s stage; this year the Home Show featured Jonathan and Drew Scott of HGTV’s Property Brothers.
While it continued to host these trademark events, in its 80th year the HBA also chose to make some changes in working to advance its mission as the voice of the housing industry. This year, the decision was made to make a concerted effort to engage with local city officials to promote legislation and regulations in support of affordable housing and economic growth.
Like any other industry, home building is not without its challenges. A couple of the most pressing issues are an ongoing labor shortage and increasing regulations that are driving up the cost of building homes.
To address the labor shortage, the HBA established a Workforce Development Task Force. The task force began a multi-pronged approach that includes student outreach, partnering with career placement programs, and offering classes about the home-building process and the skilled trades associated with it.
Within the HBA there’s also a renewed effort to strengthen its relationship with local government by creating an open dialogue between elected officials and staff of high-permitting cities and builders. To accomplish this, the HBA is establishing regular municipal meetings to discuss ongoing building, development, and growth issues which cities and industry stakeholders experience.
Another welcome addition to the HBA is a Developers Council. It was created to identify and discuss issues within the developer community throughout the metro area. This council will serve as a coalition of developers focused on local advocacy. They will connect with city council members, city staff and other relevant entities to mediate current issues as well as be at the forefront of any changes that may impact development in the Kansas City area.
To support future growth in Kansas City, in 2017 the HBA Board of Directors contributed to the KC G.O. Bond Campaign, which will be used for repairing or expanding existing infrastructure, such as streets, sidewalks, flood control and public buildings.
The association’s Board of Directors also voted to endorse Kansas City’s campaign for a new single terminal at the Kansas City International Airport. The board viewed the ballot measure as vital to further economic growth in the region.
As 2017 comes to an end, the HBA and its members are confident the home building industry is on solid footing and will continue to see growth into 2018. The association would like to thank all those who have supported it and those who will continue to do so as it builds on its goals for the future.