The No. 8 Most Affordable Housing Market: Kansas City, Missouri

And its biggest fan is native real estate agent Jenny Delich.

Whether it’s the historical architecture, thriving art scene or one of the many, many beautiful fountains, there’s no denying that Kansas City, Missouri will make the unfamiliar do a big doubletake.

Not only does the city, which is also known as the Heart of America and the City of Fountains, have plenty to offer in terms of both eye candy and entertainment, but it is also an exceptionally budget-friendly place to live.
 
As of August 2019, the average home listing price is $194,584 and the median monthly rent is $1,100, according to Trulia. Redfin gives the city a competitive score of 60%, while Realtor.com lists several three-bedroom homes between $140,000 and $250,000.
 
Real estate agent Jenny Delich, who was born and raised in Kansas City and has been selling homes there for the past four years, is arguably the city’s biggest fan. The Exp Realty pro noted that “we have our own little special niche here going on,” and feels that Kansas City is a “really well-kept secret in the Midwest” because people don’t expect all that it has to offer.
 
“They expect cow town,” she said. “They don’t really expect to see all the arts and culture and how much amazing food, people and cool stuff there is to find in this city. People are just kind of taken aback by it.”
 
The city’s long and colorful history has a lot to do with how it looks and functions today. Delich noted how much activity used to center around the Missouri River.
 
“The river was kind of the bloodline of the city and by the time people came here and went about, there was a lot of back-and-forth colonization,” she said. “France and Spain kind of went back and forth owning the land and they did a lot of fur trading.
 
These Spanish and French influences extended to the city’s architecture. Delich noted a plethora of old country homes that predate the 20th century.
 
“A lot of really cool stuff happened with the Western expansion of America and we were kind of that gateway after St. Louis,” Delich said.
 
Today, Kansas City contains several pockets of surprises.
 
“There are tons of districts within the city,” Delich said. “The city is packaged up in these little tiny districts and each district has something unique to offer, everything from the Library District to the Crossroads Arts District. There’s so much the city has to offer.”
 
Kansas City’s central location helps keep it affordable and also allows residents to own homes that have a lot of land.
 
“Being that we’re not next to the coast or the waters, we don’t have as vast of a population, but there is a lot of available land because we have no border to the ocean,” Delich said. “So we’re limitless in that aspect.
 
Out-of-towners who move to Kansas City and look to buy a home will find an especially big bonus: large yards.
 
“Having yards is a big thing here in our town,” Delich said. “Most people want a big-size yard. Most people don’t expect that in other big cities, but this is something that we have to offer and that’s been kind of a unique perspective, for me, dealing with people moving here from out of state. They get kind of surprised to see how much they can get for their dollar here.”
 
She cited Armour Hills and the Country Club District as two of her favorite Kansas City neighborhoods. She noted the variety of architecture in the Country Club District, from colonial houses to old country Georgian-style homes, and said she used to be “in awe” of the homes in that neighborhood when she was growing up.
 
“They’re all so different and it feels like there’s so much character in each one and variety and that’s why I like to tell people to go and take a drive down Ward Parkway, off of the Plaza,” she said, adding that the neighborhoods off of Ward Parkway have “really cool-looking houses.”
 
With so much to offer in terms of arts and culture, not to mention the opportunity to own a good swathe of land and enjoy a house that has more than one bedroom, it’s no wonder Kansas City is known as the Heart of America.