Packing up and moving on is something hordes of Americans are familiar with. More than 32 million of us move each year, about 10% of the population. Kansas City is the destination for thousands of those movers, with the metropolitan area showing steady growth over the past 10 years. What is it that pulls folks in? The barbecue? Shopping? The current Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs? Some say it’s that good old Midwestern hospitality (and that’s true!), but hard numbers point to economics.
Cost of Living
Groceries, healthcare, and transportation all fall under the term, cost of living. And in these three categories, Kansas City is about average or just below. But home sales? Well, that’s where KC shines! The metro area is appealing to those who can’t afford a house in other cities. Places such as New York, San Francisco, and Seattle are pricing middle-class Americans out of the housing market with the median price for homes above $700,000. But Kansas City offers some welcome relief. The median home price is $146,300. That’s a whopping $85,000 less than the national average and far less than the big coastal cities. It’s a buyers market in KC, and that draws people who want to own a home of their own.
Job growth in and around Kansas City is a huge incentive for people to move here. Non-farm related jobs increased by 16,000 from 2017 to 2018. The unemployment rate stands at 3.6%. That creates an accelerating economy that’s attractive to outsiders. The largest employers in the city include the federal government, Cerner Corporation (health care information systems), and Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics. Companies with headquarters in Kansas City include Hallmark Cards, Commerce Bank, and H&R Block. Job growth is expected to continue over the next year.
Sports & Entertainment
Sure, Kansas City is home to the 2020 Superbowl champs, but it’s also in the top 10 U.S. soccer cities. The Sporting KC soccer club has a loyal fan base, at one time boasting a sellout streak of 125 consecutive games. There’s also a women’s soccer club called FC Kansas City. Not a soccer or football fan? Major league baseball has a home in the city with the Kansas City Royals, and rugby, hockey, and women’s football also draw the crowds.
When it comes to entertainment, Kansas City is famous for jazz, fountains, and barbecue. The jazz district is home to the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Country Club Plaza is a 15-block area just north of the river with shopping and dining. The architecture of the buildings is designed to look like those of Seville, Spain. The Plaza is on the list of 60 of the world’s great spaces.
Family activities include the Kansas City Zoo and Worlds of Fun amusement park. The Power & Light District is a nine-block walkable area filled with restaurants and bars.
As technology makes it easier than ever to move from point A to point B, the allure of a medium-sized city with a low cost of living, a good economy, and a high amount of things to do make Kansas City simply too much to resist.
By Leslie Fischer
Leslie Fischer describes herself as a “slow-motion vagabond.” She finds a place she wants to live, buys a fixer-upper and flips it. She writes about real estate and DIY issues.