Luxury apartment boom to fizzle nationwide

KSHB - Kevin Holmes - 06 January 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Luxury apartments in the heart of any downtown are becoming quite the craze. In Kansas City, there’s River Market, Columbus Park, One Light, Two Light, to name a few. 

According to one research firm, the number of apartments nationwide may jump more than 25 percent in 2017.  But the Wall Street Journal predicts the building surge will outpace suitors, leaving many units vacant and forcing rent prices to drop.  Those numbers may reflect the national trend, but local housing experts predict the opposite in the Kansas City metro.  

Realtor Charles Wilson says there’s just too much of a diverse economy in Kansas City. 

“Maybe once a month somebody tells me I want to sell this home and move downtown.  Someone in their 70s, someone in their 20s that doesn’t want a home.”

Harold Phelps, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City agrees with Wilson.  He doesn’t see any slowdown, any time soon. 

“We’ve seen growth in the 20 to 30 percent range since 2014.  Will we continue to see that growth? I think we will.” 

Local experts say we’ve learned a lot from the housing crisis of 2008, and in Kansas City, they won’t build unless there’s a strong demand.  So if you’re waiting for the prices to drop on luxury rentals in the metro, keep waiting.  

Phelps says it’s not just millennials. 

“There’s a demand too for the empty nesters to move out of their houses and into the apartments.  It’s more of a lifestyle,” he said.