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Kansas City metro home prices skyrocket as lack of supplies, workforce persist

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Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 23:35:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Several factors have led to skyrocketing housing prices throughout the Kansas City metro.

The area saw a more than 64% drop in the number of houses on the market between February 2020 and 2021, according to the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors.

Interest rates also are low, according to the National Association of Realtors, with the average rate at 3.1%, driving demand. This is combined with a lack of building materials.

"What we’re experiencing from a building supplies standpoint is unprecedented," said Will Ruder, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

Ruder told 41 Action News lumber prices have soared 180% compared to last year, which can be about 12% of the overall cost of the house.

A trend Ruder also said he has seen during the COVID-19 pandemic is that consumers are searching for new homes.

"Buying something new, having that opportunity to be the first one in there just kind of psychologically that was attractive," Ruder said, "just given the, 'Keep your distance and make sure everything is clean standpoint.'"

Another hurdle is the lack of workforce – nationwide there are more than 200,000 open positions in the trade industry. In order to find new potential workers to build houses, Ruder said they're looking to the next generation to step up and fill these roles.

"The opportunity has never been greater for our young people to not only get into the trades, but to very quickly be incorporated into in a very meaningful way," Ruder said.

One difficulty that Ruder said needs to be overcome is the notion that everyone needs to go to college.

"We’re in a competition with something that society has said is necessary to success i.e. the bachelors degree," he said.

Those ingredients make it difficult for like Connor Lawrence, who is looking to buy a house.

"The prices," Lawrence said. "You have to pay over asking in order to get your contract accepted."

So, while house prices remain high, those like Lawrence will wait and likely make the big purchase down the road.

"I would be a first-time home buyer, so I wanted to get those cheap interest rates but it will happen, just patience," Lawrence said.

To promote careers in the skilled trades, the Home Builders Association will host the KC Manufacturing and Design Expo, KC Made, this weekend, providing an opportunity for students and industry stakeholders to connect in case they're looking for a job in the home building industry.

The public can view the projects in-person between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. April 9 and 10 at RE: Crossroads, 1717 Washington Street, Kansas City, MO.

For more information, visit KCHomeWork.com.