Whether she crunches the numbers or looks at the faces coming into the county offices for a building permit, Lisa Hobgood reaches the same conclusion: Residential construction is on the rebound.
“I’m starting to see some guys I haven’t seen in a while,” said Hobgood, a financial assistant in the community development office for Williamson County. “Absolutely, they’re encouraged.”
By almost any measure, the market for single-family homes in Williamson County is getting stronger. Taxes collected on new construction over the past six months is at a five-year high, the median sales price is climbing, more building permits are being issued and, anecdotally, long-dormant projects are seeing more hard hats and pickups than they have in years.
This activity is taking place while lenders continue to foreclose at a rate that is only slightly better than when foreclosures peaked in 2010 at 456. There were 405 foreclosures last year, and the county has seen 171 this year.
Seemingly, this new construction won’t fare well as long as foreclosure properties continue to hit the market, but Williamson County is actually running low on inventory, according to Jason Brown, director of Metrostudy for the Nashville area.
“They have to actually build something to close, which sounds kind of obvious, but it hadn’t been that way for a few years,” Brown said of home sales.
During the first quarter of the year, there were slightly more than 100 new homes on the market in Williamson County, which is enough inventory for almost two months, Brown said. Three years ago there was a five-month supply. When construction slowed to a trickle during the recession, buyers slowly exhausted the county’s inventory.
For the past three or four months, Brown said, Williamson County has seen a greater number of housing starts than sales, which is a very positive sign. By comparison, Davidson County is seeing an approximately equal volume of new construction and sales.
Source: The Tennessean