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Limited housing options a potential concern for Wichita area job growth

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – As city and county leaders celebrate an announcement by Integra Technologies Inc. to expand its Bel Aire-based businessa potential concern stems from the question of housing options for new employees moving to the Wichita area.

With its expansion into the Wichita area, Integra is expected to create approximately 2,500 new jobs and more than $2 billion in capital investment over five years. This means that some new employees will be moving to a new city.

Looking at availability for people relocating to the area, Adam Crowder, associate broker at Coldwell Banker and chairman of the board of South Central Kansas MLS, said he’s seen changing patterns in home sales in recent years.

“We’re about half to a third of what we really need,” he said.

Crowder said that new home construction is also down in Wichita. The lack of bigger development projects means fewer options.

“…We have a lot of buyers who want to buy, not enough sellers who want to sell, and not enough builders who can build the amount of homes we need,” he said.

Crowder said he is inviting the city, county and state to come up with ideas, including incentives to improve the housing situation.

“They’re not going to wait for that infrastructure to be there for those employees to have homes,” he said. “As soon as (there is) that green flag to be taken down, they will start building. In a year, if they’re up and running, we’re six months behind, trying to catch up (with) building houses.”

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