Geopolitical unrest around the globe is making investments in the United States look safer than ever, and the Kansas City area could be a beneficiary.
A national office research manager for the real estate services firm of Colliers International said in Kansas City on Thursday that foreign investors are looking beyond the big U.S. metros to invest in smaller cities.
Researcher Andrea Cross told about 300 business and civic representatives that even though Kansas City has been relatively slow to rebound from the recession, it is poised for a growth year, partly by attracting new capital investment.
Foreign and domestic companies are “moving to places to capture lower costs of doing business,” she said, and Kansas City’s comparatively lower cost of living is a drawing card.
She also noted local growth in the area’s financial services sector, a job rebound that has yet to occur in many cities.
Among Cross’ factors that inspire optimism for 2015: fuel savings for consumers that free up dollars to spend in other ways, an upsurge in housing starts (though tending to multifamily rather than single-family), job growth across industries and modest inflation.
Interest rates are expected to stay low for much of the year, which will continue to help housing market recovery, both for homebuying and apartment construction and rentals, she said.
Cross also reflected on several economic negatives: Job growth has been heavy in part-time and low-wage jobs, a widening wealth gap reflects the loss of many middle-income jobs and U.S. exporting is being hurt as the dollar strengthens against foreign currencies.
Overall, she said, “healthier, more optimistic” consumers should help 2015 be the best year since 2008 for commercial real estate transaction volume as well as other economic markers.