Kansas City ranks among the most affordable cities in the nation on a list that gave high marks to Southern and fellow Midwestern towns.
Compared to increasingly expensive coastal cities, the Midwest and South earned top spots in an analysis of affordability across U.S. cities. Kansas City was ranked second on the list while Oklahoma City took the top spot.
John Wood, an assistant city manager for Kansas City, said he wasn't surprised by the high praise for the city's affordability.
“I just think people on the coastline should look at Kansas City more closely," Wood said. "I think they’ll be surprised by what they find here.”
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An average household income of $69,301 and low cost of living propelled Kansas City to the top of the list compiled last month by GoBankingRates. The analysis compared expenses, including median home rent, groceries, utilities and transportation, to the area's average household income to come up with the rankings. Behind Kansas City ranked Lexington, Ky., Phoenix, and Durham, N.C.
Kansas City's high average salaries boosted its performance, but it ranked 14th in terms of cost of living alone because of high utility prices. Wichita and St. Louis both had lower costs of living.
Wood said the city's affordability should help recruit companies and workforce to the metro.
"We need more people moving to Kansas City, so I think again if we play this right and market the concept of being more affordable, it would be an attractive place for people to move businesses as well as bring new workforce," Wood said.
Jessica Palm, managing director of TeamKC, the Kansas City Area Development Council’s initiative to attract, retain and develop top talent, said the ranking could help at a time when unemployment is low and competition for top talent is "at an all-time high."
“Salary and cost of living are the top things candidates ask about when considering moving to Kansas City for a job," she said.
Joe Reardon, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, said the ranking was welcome news as the city works to attract new businesses.
"Those of us who live in Kansas City aren’t surprised by the rankings," Reardon said. "Most of the cities in the Top 10 were in the Midwest or Southern states, who, like us, are often overlooked by those on the coasts."