Featured Panelist on This Week in Missouri Politics: KCHBA EO Will Ruder

On the Sept. 20 show of This Week in Missouri Politics, Scott Faughn sat down with KCHBA Executive Officer Will Ruder and Danny Pfeifer of the Catalyst Group to discuss the impact Covid-19 has had on housing in Kansas City and how the industry is moving forward.

“Where we live has never been more important… It has created a re-emphasis on the place we call home,” said Ruder. Over the past six months, many people have slowly found using the kitchen table as a desk is a less than ideal situation. The demand for the luxury of more space and historically low interest rates are two major factors pushing the residential construction industry forward.

Housing plays an extremely vital role in the fabric of the city itself and how visitors and residents experience it. Faughn touched on the overall optimistic vibe of the city, noting “people are excited to be from Kansas City.” Pfiefer agrees that “Kansas City has been on the uptick for a little while now” citing winning professional sports teams and a solid local economy as contributing factors.

There are many reasons why buying a home in Kansas City is appealing to so many people. “The quality of life that exists here in Kansas City is second to none,” said Ruder. “I think that is reflected in the amount of new construction that is going on in Kansas City. Our permits year to date are up 17 percent this year over last.” Ruder points out the ability to grow is almost limitless, with 360 degrees of opportunity. “There is a tremendous sense of optimism. It’s a cautious optimism. I think people still bare the scars of what happened to the economy 12 years ago, related to housing,” commented Ruder.

The 2020 data provides a positive outlook on the future of housing in Kansas City, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. “Leadership matters… Homebuilding is not unlike water or air. It’s going to flow to areas where there is less pressure. And so the greater level of regulatory scrutiny or the processes required to put this product in the ground. If they are too restrictive or trying to prove a point, then there are other options for people to build. We’re going to build homes in places that people want to live and at a price point that they can afford. They have more regional options than simply staying in one ZIP code,” explained Ruder.