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VOL. 36 | NO. 28 | Friday, July 13, 2012

How ‘affordable’ is Franklin for its workers?

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The recent Greater Nashville Housing Summit featured presentations by Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and focused on the status of the regional real estate market.

Ted Feldman, executive director of the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency, also addressed the group, and the event was attended by Congressman Jim Cooper, as well as representatives from the offices of other members of the United States House of Representatives such as Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn.

Moore addressed one of Franklin’s greatest issues, the lack of affordable housing and workforce housing. He described affordable housing as homes with prices less than $205,000 intended for families with incomes of less than $53,000. Workforce housing, Moore says, is defined as home prices from $205,000 to $384,500 for families with incomes of $53,000 to $99,500.

The $384,500 number might seem high to some for workforce housing, since the federal limit for a “jumbo loan” is not much higher at $417,000, according to Scott Ratcliffe, senior vice president with Pinnacle Bank.

The quandary facing Franklin is that only 21 percent of the 700 employees providing city services live in the city. The lack of affordable housing options, he says, is the reason for that number. With fuel costs rising, there is concern that those workers will be forced to take lesser paying jobs closer to their homes.

As the affordability issue began to mushroom, the city created the Franklin Housing Commission in 2008. The commission began by initiating an inclusionary housing ordinance that requires developers to include affordable housing in any community in which the developer requests an increase in density. Franklin is committed to increasing the availability of workforce and affordable housing, Moore says, yet with rising land prices, costly new construction and higher fuel costs, the barriers are growing.

In Mayor Dean’s segment, he tied housing to his three priorities: education, economic development and safety. In order to lure more jobs to the city, he says, there must be more college graduates available to companies relocating.

“That is the battleground,” he stated. “Those are the cities that are going to attract the jobs.”

With growth come challenges. As the area grows, schools become overcrowded and require funding to expand and improve. Consequently, most of this funding is generated by property taxes. A vibrant real estate market can create more tax revenue, thereby funding more schools and improving the education of the area’s students. This, in turn, entices more businesses to relocate to the area.

Additionally, there is a public safety component to relocation possibilities since the cities must be safe. Funding a police force capable of ensuring comfortably safe environs is imperative, as no company will move into a combat zone. Therefore, housing plays a pivotal role in the areas of economic development, safety and education.

In an effort to promote home ownership, Mayor Dean instituted the Mayor’s Home Ownership Fair immediately upon taking office five years ago. This year, it is again being held at the Bridgestone Arena on July 15, 1-4 p.m. The fair brings Realtors, lenders, inspectors, title companies and all things real estate to the arena, and is open to the public at no charge.

The event is sponsored by H.H. Gregg, Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA), the Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors, Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), and the Housing Fund are partnering in the event. HH Gregg will be giving away an entire appliance package with washer, dryer, side-by-side refrigerator, dishwasher and an enormous television. There will be representatives from the sponsoring agencies on hand to field question and consult with those interested in home ownership.

Sale of the week

In a number of speeches lately, Mayor Dean has mentioned the Antioch area as one of the city’s most promising locales, citing development and the brilliance of the students, teacher, and principals in the schools. The sales of the week this week support his assertions while playing into the affordability issue.

The first sale is the property located at 4785 Apollo Drive and was listed by Brent Cartee with ReMax Choice properties. It sold in 223 days for $84,700. The house consists of 1,701 square feet and was completely renovated with hardwoods, garage and a large fenced backyard.

This house was a flipper, having been bought in October 2011 for $50,000. Tracy Lynn Pendergrast of Cornerstone Realty delivered the buyer, who received $4,731 in closing costs, prepaid items or other consideration in the purchase.

The second sale is a 1,585 square-foot-home located at 5025 Shihman Drive that sold in 162 days for $102,000. The seller dropped $20,000 off the list price of $122,000, and the buyer’s agent was also able to negotiate $3,000 in seller-paid closing costs.

Susan Rodgers of Village Real Estate Services listed the home, which has a unique design with a “retreat located in the garage attic” and the “third bedroom (was) used as formal dining area.” Breakfast in bed, I suppose.

Richard is a real estate broker with French, Christainson, Patterson, and Associates and can be reached at Richard@richardcourtney.com.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0