Nashville's housing boom has revitalized several parts of town, but many people in the city's civic and neighborhood infrastructure — as well as a few in its development community — are calling for greater urgency in tackling the effects of being It City on our stock of affordable housing. This week's Nashville Scene cover story by Abby White looks at the topic in detail and includes some proposals from stakeholders about how to fix the shortage and prevent the redevelopment of various neighborhoods from pushing out large numbers of longtime residents. Among Fraser's suggestions are a big bond offering to fund the Barnes Housing Trust Fund and the resurrection of the Bill Purcell-era Office of Affordable Housing.
"The city provided the materials, and the nonprofits provided the workforce," Purcell explains. "They repaired literally thousands of homes in the years that followed, which is one of those great partnerships between the public and the private sectors that quickly stabilized individual families and, in some cases, neighborhoods."
When Purcell's second term ended in 2007, however, so did the office, as former director Hank Helton explains.
"It was a mayoral-appointed office," Hank Helton tells the Scene."At the end of Bill's second term, by that time, the office had been transferred over to MDHA, and I was no longer there. I had taken another opportunity outside of the administration. It was an initiative of the Purcell administration, and sometimes things like that just don't transition."
Housing market research firm CoreLogic says Nashville-area home prices were up 6.8 percent in January from a year earlier. That's down 0.9 percentage points from October and 1.3 points from July. Excluding distressed sales, the year-over-year price gain was 5.3 percent, also down almost a point from three months earlier.
In case you needed some more validation, a housing conditions index developed by Freddie Mac says Middle Tennessee's residential market is again picking up steam. Its Multi-Indicator Market Index was up almost 9 percent to end 2014 — the fastest pace since the summer — driven primarily by strong job growth.
Freddie Mac's national overview is here.
Nashville's hotter-than-hot apartment market broke through another barrier last month, posting effective rent growth of at least 6 percent for the first time during this recovery. Research firm Axiometrics says the city now ranks 13th among the country's largest markets regarding the rise of apartment rents. Two months ago, Nashville's growth rate was still under 6 percent. A year ago, it was "just" 4.6 percent.
Things could be worse, though: Effective rents are up 8 percent year over year in Atlanta and almost 12 percent in Denver.
Here's Axiometrics' news release in full.
Twelve Twelve developer Ray Hensler and his team enjoyed a strong five days last week, with the Gulch-based building hitting the $60 million mark in closings.
The milestone, Hensler said, allowed the development entity (which includes both Hensler Development Group and Florida-based Stiles Corp.) to retire the debt on its construction loan.
While Hensler gave me a tour of the sleek luxury condo tower on Friday, he noted Twelve Twelve also that week had achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. As such, Twelve Twelve is the largest LEED-certified multi-unit residential building in Tennessee and the largest LEED-certified condo high-rise in the Southeast, he said.
And for good measure, Hensler got a final bit of positive news for the week. Nashville Energy Service has energized the duct bank Hensler’s team had installed (as part of the $5 million infrastructure improvement project), thus clearing the way for all outdated utililty poles and overhead lines currently running along Laurel Street and 12th Avenue to be removed within in the next seven to 10 days.
I asked Hensler for his take on the updates and he simply replied, “It was a good week.”
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