New home construction in Kansas City metro rebounding five years after US economy tanks

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Residential building permits in the greater Kansas City area jumped 30 percent over the same period last year. The increase is putting more people back to work and helping businesses like furniture stores, lighting companies and carpet stores.

According to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, 832 permits were granted for single-family units in the first quarter of 2013. Last year, there were permits for 640 single-family units. In Johnson County alone, there were permits for 129 multi-family rental units.

Tom French is a builder in Johnson County.

"It has been a long five years, but we are finally seeing a turnaround in new home construction," he said.

French is building new homes at 158th Street and Lowell in Overland Park, Kan. He said the new home sales are being fueled by people selling their existing homes for cost or profit. He believes the market is shifting from a buyers' market to a sellers' market.

"Homes priced under $500,000 are selling -- our most popular price range is new homes less than $280,000," he said.

French said he is cautiously optimistic that new home sales will continue.

Jeff Friesen, vice president of Enterprise Bank and Trust in Overland Park,  Kan., said consumers have all the right conditions to continue buying.

"Interest rates are the lowest they've been in a very long time, land is not overpriced like it was in 2009, and new homes are fairly priced, too," Friesen said.

New home construction is also good for area businesses. Consumers buying new homes also need new appliances, furniture and carpet.

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