Housing market booming

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

By James Clark

There’s promising news for Warren County residents looking to sell a house.

Prices for residential homes have climbed an average of $39,206 during a two-year span, according to the Warren County Board of Realtors.

Even with higher prices, buyers aren’t balking. Homes are staying on the market an average of 44 days less than they were just two days ago.

“It’s a good time to be a realtor,” said Annie Moffitt, executive officer of the Warren County Board of Realtors. “We’re getting a lot of overflow because places like Murfreesboro and Cookeville don’t have enough affordable housing.”

Local realtor and auctioneer D.M. Simpson echoed that thought. He estimates you can buy an 1,800-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two baths for at least $50,000 less in Warren County than you can in Rutherford County.

“It could be closer to $100,000,” said Simpson. “Murfreesboro is so hot, it’s forcing a lot of people to leave that market because they can’t afford to live there.”

Simpson noted that Warren County, as a whole, averaged around 250 homes on the market at one time before the recent housing boom. He says now there are probably around 120 residential properties available.

“The inventory is definitely tighter,” Simpson said.

Jonathan Jones and Glenda Taylor are owners of McMinnville’s newest real estate agency, Tree City Realty, which has been open about two months.

“We’ve had several listings and several closings. It’s a hot market and homes are moving,” said Taylor. “We’re very appreciative of the business we’ve received so far and the positive comments.”

Connan Jones is one of the developers building new homes in the area. In recent years, Jones says he’s built over 20 houses inside McMinnville city limits, along with other projects outside the city.

“It’s kind of different with new homes because most of ours have been selling before we get done,” said Jones. “Anything below $200,000 sells really well. Once you start getting over $200,000, we have a much smaller base of people who can afford them.”

While home prices here have climbed in recent years, Jones pointed out they are still much more affordable than in other parts of Middle Tennessee.

“We’ve sold a few homes to people who could literally live anywhere and they’ve decided to live here,” said Jones. “That’s a benefit because they move here and start paying local taxes and contributing to the economy.”

The average selling price for existing homes may be up 24 percent over the past two years, but Jones says the increase hasn’t been nearly as drastic for his new homes. He estimates his prices are up about 8 to 9 percent and that’s mainly because of advances in construction.

“It costs a little more to produce homes to the standard we’re doing today,” said Jones. “We’re building homes with more insulation, with better windows and with more energy-efficient appliances and central air. The electrical work we’re doing now is also much safer. It costs more to make a better house, but the homeowner will pay less in energy bills for the life of the home.”

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