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VOL. 42 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 13, 2018

Hendersonville’s less-costly alternative to Westhaven

By Bill Lewis

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When Judy and Mike Darnell downsized from their large home in Franklin, they bought a house in a neighborhood with front porches where neighbors visit, enjoy walking trails, a clubhouse, a pool and even a professional lifestyle director who plans activities.

Not long ago their choice would have been limited to Westhaven, the popular master-planned community in Franklin. But, the Darnell’s home is in Sumner County, in Hendersonville’s growing Durham Farms neighborhood. The subdivision will have more than 1,000 homes when it is complete.

“It was so nice to meet the neighbors” during group activities, Judy Darnell says.

Sumner County had another attraction for the Darnells, who made their move late last year. Their one-level house, built by David Weekley Homes, cost less than a similar house in Williamson County.

And that price gap is growing wider.

In February, the average price of a home in Williamson County was $560,187, compared to $292,914 in Sumner County. Durham Farms’ prices for new homes start in the $300,000s.

Only two other counties in the Nashville region had average home prices less than $300,000 in February. In Rutherford, the price was $264,985, according to the Williamson County Association of Realtors, which tracks sales across the area.

The average price in Maury County early this year was $247,906, according to data from the local real estate association, the Southern Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors, collects from RealTracs Solutions.

Those counties have a few things in common, including schools that are well regarded, lower land costs that keep the cost of housing affordable and interstate access to Nashville.

Maury and Sumner bookend the region on I-65.

All of Rutherford County’s large cities, Murfreesboro, Smyrna and LaVergne, have quick access to Nashville on I-24 and to Franklin or Lebanon on Highway 840.

Hot spots in Sumner

In Sumner County, some of the hottest spots for affordable homes are along I-65 in the cities of Portland and White House.

In Portland’s new Creekwood subdivision, being launched this spring, prices will range from $170,000 to around $200,000 for a 1,300 to 1,400-square-foot home. Yards will be about one-third acre. The subdivision will have 42 homes.

Many people being priced out of Nashville are driving a few miles north, acknowledges John Wilkinson, Creekwood’s developer.

“They are moving to Portland,” adds Wilkinson, a Realtor with Tennessee Realty partner.

Closer to Nashville in White House, Goodall Homes offer homes priced from the low $200,000s in Summerlin. The neighborhood features a playground, sidewalks and open space. Homes have energy-efficient construction and range from 1,753 to 2,450 square feet.

Goodall, one of the region’s largest builders, is launching new affordably priced subdivisions in Gallatin, says Rachael Overall, the company’s director of marketing.

Clear Lake Meadows, located near Highway 109 off Nichols Lane, is expected to have prices in the low to mid $300,000s. The neighborhood features energy-efficient, single family homes ranging from 1,868 to 3,358 square feet and will have sidewalks and open space.

In Patterson Farms, located off the Highway 109 bypass at Clear Lake Meadows Drive and Westgate Drive, prices start in the mid-$200,000s. Amenities include open space and sidewalks.

Also in Gallatin, Goodall is launching the Reserve at Cambridge Farms, located near Long Hollow Pike. Prices have not been determined. Homes will range from 1,868 to 3,358 square feet. The neighborhood will have a playground, sidewalks and open space.

Goodall also offers new homes in Gallatin’s Carellton subdivision and in Millstone, a Hendersonville neighborhood that like Durham Farms has a lifestyle director. The company is expected to begin building townhomes in Durham Farms soon. The price has not been announced.

“The demand for homes in Sumner County continues to grow due to affordability and convenience to Nashville,” Overall points out.

Rutherford Growing

On the south side of the region, Rutherford County is attracting home buyers looking for convenience and value.

Trey Lewis, vice president for Ole South homebuilding company, describes Rutherford County as “the most buyer-friendly market in the Middle Tennessee area.”

“A great quality of life is still within reach of the median home buyer in Rutherford County,” he says.

Ole South is active in more than a dozen neighborhoods in Rutherford County, including the 840-growth corridor on the county’s north side.

Jen Lucy, director of sales for The Jones Co., says she knows why so many homebuyers are coming to new subdivisions along State Route 840.

Compared to the cost of homes an exit or two away in Williamson County, “the price is $100,000 less” in Rutherford County, she points out.

The Jones Co. offers homes from around $279,000 in South Haven, off 840 at Almaville Road. Ole South, Celebration Homes and Paran Homes are also building in the South Haven, which will have up to 571 homes. Amenities include walking trails, a playground, a pool and a cabana.

“South Haven is very popular. We sold out an entire phase in about three weeks. The easy commute to Cool Springs and Murfreesboro is what everyone is crazy about. It is also zoned for Stewarts Creek schools. which is very popular,” Lucy adds.

Demand in the neighborhood is strong, says Ole South’s Lewis. The company’s prices start in the $270,000s.

“We only have a few opportunities remaining until more lots are available,” he says.

The 840 corridor’s popularity is understandable, Lewis explains. “Access to Lebanon and Franklin, bypassing Nashville, an affordability factor and a great lifestyle for the money.”

Ole South is also active in other neighborhoods in the 840 growth corridor, the Preserve at Stewart Creek in Smyrna and Enclave at Berkshire and Puckett Station in northern Murfreesboro. In the Villas at Indian Creek, townhomes start in the mid to upper $100,000s.

To the south, the company has launched Mankin Pointe on Manchester Highway near Joe B Jackson Parkway. Prices start in the mid-$200,000s.