Because of construction trends, homes with basements are more likely to be found in some places than others. In large part, this is because of soil conditions and weather patterns, including rain, flooding, and winter temperatures.
Find out which cities in Missouri have the most basements and how Missouri foundation types compare to the rest of the country.
What Percent of Homes in Missouri Have Basements?
Aggregate data on construction practices or building inventories is not easy to come by at the local level. However, we can use real estate data to identify regional trends in home design.
To identify which Missouri cities have the biggest concentration of basements, we used Zillow’s data on recently sold single-family homes. Using county-level data, the number of transactions gives us a large enough sample size to calculate the percentage of homes that have finished or unfinished basements.
This snapshot of property records reveals that the Kansas City area has the most basements of the counties we analyzed, and 53 to 62 percent of recently sold homes had basements.
St. Louis and Moberly fall in the middle of the pack, with 28 to 30 percent of recently sold homes having basements. The Springfield area has very few basements, and according to real estate transaction data, only 13 percent of recently sold homes had basements.
|County||Percent of Homes with Basements|
|Clay County (Northeastern Kansas City)||62%|
|Platte County (Northwestern Kansas City)||61%|
|Buchanan County (St. Joseph)||54%|
|Jackson County (Southeastern Kansas City)||53%|
|Boone County (Columbia)||33%|
|Randolph County (Moberly)||30%|
|St. Charles County (St. Charles, St. Peters, O’Fallon)||29%|
|St. Louis County and City||28%|
|Jasper County (Joplin)||15%|
|Greene County (Springfield)||13%|
Does Missouri Have More Basements Than the Rest of the Country?
The American Housing Survey (AHS) offers some insight into housing design across the country. The survey is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, which uses a sample of respondents to develop data on select metropolitan areas and the country.
According to the 2019 AHS report, Kansas City has twice as many basements as the national average. In Kansas City, 85 percent of homes have full or partial basements, and across the country, 43 percent of homes have full or partial basements.
Note that this data on Kansas City differs slightly from the real estate transaction data in the previous section. This difference is likely because AHS data reports on both attached and detached single-family homes, and the data in Zillow only looks at single-family homes, excluding condos, townhouses, and apartments.
Nevertheless, in both sets of data, Kansas City leads with a high percentage of area homes with basements. That must be why we see so many Kansas City Royals fans using their MLB fan caves as home offices while telecommuting during COVID-19.
Why Are Basements More Common In Some Areas?
Basement foundations require digging, and they are more expensive to build than concrete slabs. However, in states like Missouri where the ground freezes in the winter, a basement foundation provides the most structural stability.
When building a home, the foundation must be anchored below the frost line. Otherwise, the house would move when the soil heaves upward in the winter, becomes unstable mud in the spring, and contracts as it dries in the summer. Because the foundation type is connected to weather patterns, we see much fewer basements in southern states where the ground doesn’t freeze.
The percentage of homes with basements is also affected by local water risks. In areas that have high water tables or are near bodies of water such as lakes or oceans, it’s less likely that homes are built with basements because of the high risk of flooding. For example, basements generally require digging at least eight feet deep, and in southern Florida, the water table starts about three feet below the surface.
Homes with all types of foundations can show signs of foundation damage if the underlying soil starts to shift from changing weather patterns. Wall cracks, nail pops, uneven floors, or bowing walls are signs that the soil underneath your home could be shifting and your home’s foundation may become unstable.
Foundation damage can cause a home to lose 30 percent of its market value, and quick repairs can help you minimize damage. If you think you might have foundation damage, sign up for a free inspection from the experts at Foundation Recovery Systems.
What’s the Future of Basement Design?
Even as construction practices change over time and vary between regions, the recent disruption of COVID-19 has created a new demand for homes with basements. According to a 2020 report from Homes.com, basements are a trending feature among homebuyers. Having extra space is important to buyers, and multipurpose basements can be used for anything from a home gym to a homeschooling room.
As these trends continue to develop, we may see architects start to prioritize basements in their home designs. We are already seeing a home renovation boom with 36 percent of Americans planning to fix up their homes in 2021, including a large number of basement renovations.
As homeowners look to make basements more functional, basement waterproofing becomes a key way to protect against flooding and moisture seepage. After finishing a basement with floors, drywall, and furniture, no one wants to see their home renovation ruined during the next big rainstorm.
Waterproofing systems also can create a vapor barrier that reduces humidity and improves air quality. This can make basements a more comfortable space that feels like the rest of the home.
Learn how basement waterproofing or foundation repair can transform your home with a free inspection from Foundation Recovery Systems.