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Kansas City homebuyers turn to new builds

'They weren’t really that bad of a price for a brand-new house'
Ashlar Homes
Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 28, 2024

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — In a time of steady interest rates, around 7%, and low housing inventory across the nation, some potential homebuyers are looking at properties they hadn’t considered before — new builds.

“It’s awesome,” Kristy Kenney said outside her future home. “I looked at some and I loved them. They weren’t really that bad of a price for a brand-new house.”

The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development's monthly report stated new-home sales were up more than 8% in March compared to an almost 4% decrease for existing homes.

The president of Ashlar Homes, Shawn Woods, said the focus is on giving homeowners a lower-cost option to start their journey into ownership.

The homes built by Ashlar in Kenney’s neighborhood start at $289,000.

“One of the best things in a community is to build something they can afford to buy a house in,” Woods said. “They invest in a community once they have purchased a house.”

Woods said builders can keep costs to a minimum by selecting a handful of prefabricated options for homebuyers to choose from. One of the biggest expenses is municipal regulations.

“You have to value engineer over and over and over again, and then you have to work with cities and municipalities who want homes of this size,” Woods said. “A lot of times, communities want bigger and better, and they don’t understand that the housing system is that. It’s a system. So you have to have the lower-priced stuff so that people will move up into the higher price.”

Ashlar Homes is part of the annual Parade of Homes, which ends May 12.