(This article was posted on December 3rd by The Tennessean, and was written by Bill Lewis. For the full article, click here.)
Ali and Mike Oxley considered buying a new house in Williamson County, but then they found a home with the same floor plan in Sumner County for tens of thousands of dollars less.
The Oxleys were the first owners to move into a new single-family home in Millstone, the new Hendersonville subdivision being developed by Goodall Homes.
“Our home would probably have cost 30 percent more in Franklin. It’s ridiculous to pay more for what you want,” Ali Oxley said.
Builders are counting on thousands of home buyers to discover Sumner County. Goodall has plans for 614 homes in Millstone. Prices start at $279,900. Durham Farms, the Hendersonville neighborhood being launched by Texas-based Freehold Communities, will have 1,100 homes with prices expected to start in the mid to upper $200,000s.
Homes in phase one of Durham Farms will be built by Lennar Homes, David Weekley Homes, Drees Homes and Celebration Homes. The neighborhood’s grand opening is expected to be held next spring.
In Gallatin, Ole South, one of the region’s largest builders, offers homes in several subdivisions, including Stratford Park and Cairo Estates, where prices start in the $160,000s, and Fairway Farms, with prices beginning in the high $200,000s.
“Sumner County is getting more magnetic every day,” Ole South Vice President Trey Lewis said.
Same qualities for less
“We see a lot of people shopping Rutherford, Williamson and Sumner counties. A lot of people are considering all three,” he said.
Goodall Homes Vice President Todd Reynolds said buyers are attracted by Sumner County’s combination of good schools, a strong economy and job growth, a lifestyle that includes golf courses and Old Hickory Lake, reasonably quick commutes and affordability.
“It’s like the perfect storm. It’s like all of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together at once,” he said.
Goodall’s sales are strong in Thompson’s Station, Nolensville and Franklin in Williamson County, but the company now sells more homes in Sumner County, where it builds in neighborhoods including Millstone, Carellton, Elk Acres, Foxland Harbor, the Retreat at Fairvue and Lenox Place, a community for buyers 55 and older, he said.
One reason for Sumner County’s popularity is price. Soaring lot costs are driving up home prices throughout Williamson County, but building sites and homes are more affordable in Sumner County, Reynolds said.
A townhome that Goodall builds for $350,000 in Franklin can be purchased in Millstone for $225,000, he said. “The same, exact townhome,” Reynolds said. “People are realizing there are choices out there.”
A place to put down roots
Sumner County’s growing population is creating demand for new neighborhoods like Durham Farms, said Suzanne Maddalon, vice president of Freehold Communities. The population, which the U.S. Census Bureau estimated at 172,706 in 2014, has grown about 25 percent since 2000.
Many of those new residents will commute to Nashville on Interstate 65 or Highway 31 East. But Maddalon said others will be employed locally by companies including Beretta USA. The firearms manufacturer relocated to Gallatin, where it will operate a $45 million manufacturing and R&D facility that is expected to create 300 jobs.
“Freehold Communities believes that Hendersonville provides an excellent location for a new home community due to the top-performing schools, the access to Old Hickory Lake, the expansive trail and park systems, which allows for a healthier lifestyle, as well as the proximity to downtown Nashville and all the city has to offer,” Maddalon said.
Durham Farms is expected to attract move-down empty nesters as well as young, move-up families. In addition to its 1,100 homes, the community will feature a recreation-amenity center called The Farmhouse with more than 5,200 square feet of space.
The Farmhouse will include a state-of-the-art fitness facility complete with a group fitness room, The Hub Wi-fi Cafe, a resort-style pool and splash pad for children, a great lawn for community events, a natural “playscape” tot lot, and a full-time social and activities director. In addition, the neighborhood will feature 3 miles of walking trails and several pocket parks.
The Oxleys, who moved from Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood, see Hendersonville as the place where they want to start their family.
“We really want to put roots down,” said Ali Oxley.
Reach Bill Lewis at 615-262-5862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.