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Financial Fall Forecast

You know that feeling when you finish a really fantastic book and you’re in the doldrums because you actually miss fictional characters? Well, I’m experiencing a version of that since I finished the last blog series. Giving my favorite design and real estate shows a reality check meant that I could watch those shows guilt free. After all, it was research! I was working! And also, I really just love to watch all the prettiness. And now I miss those shows. I tossed around several ideas for a new blog series, then decided that the best thing to do for my post-show blues was to go cold-turkey from the sweet and fluffy posts and get down and dirty with some number-crunching. And, because I live and work in Williamson County, Tennessee, those real estate numbers are very, very pleasant to crunch. If you own a home here, you can dance the happy dance with me. If you don’t (yet!) live here, then I only have one thing to say… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Okay, actually, I have a lot more to say about living, working and owning a home in this great county and now I have cold hard facts to back up my ooey-gooey love for this community.

People often ask me if Williamson County has recovered from the real-estate bubble burst. The truth is, we got off lucky in Middle Tennessee. There were certainly some lean home buying and selling years, but we definitely did not experience the huge bottoming-out that many big city suburbs experienced. There were several reasons for our insulation – another post, perhaps, but the bottom line is, we managed to sustain viability during the economic downturn. And that’s why it’s especially amazing that we’ve experienced the real-estate resurgence of the last few years. In short, we’re experiencing the rebound without having felt the real pain of the downturn.

So, what does that look like in terms of numbers? First of all, employment in Williamson County has increased 27% in the past five years. That’s a staggering figure, more than double the rate of growth in the rest of Middle Tennessee. Major international corporations (think Nissan) have made their headquarters here. That growth has meant that more and more people are moving to the area and buying homes near their work. Conveniently, the county also boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the state with only 4.8% of residents out of work.
Facts like low unemployment and a growing jobs market also means that commercial development is booming in Williamson County. In fact, SouthStar LLC (currently developing the huge Ovation project in Cool Springs) plans to purchase an additional 41 acres with the hopes of eventually completing a $775 million dollar project that will involve over a million square feet of office space, almost half a million square feet of retail space and – wait for it – 950 RESIDENTIAL UNITS! Yes, you read that correctly. We expect almost a thousand new homes in Williamson County and are confident that we’ll easily find buyers for all those extra homes.
Where are these home buyers coming from, you might ask? Well, some are relocating within the county, either upgrading as their families grow or downsizing as they experience emptier nests. That in-house relocation is great for our economy, but it doesn’t explain the huge building boom. The fact is, that ever-growing and oh, so desirable population of “millennials” (those between 18 and 33) are choosing to buy homes in Williamson County at pretty impressive rates. In a recent study, out of 87 communities, Franklin was the third most desirable and Brentwood placed 25th. Millennials who participated in the study cited those unemployment rates, salaries, affordability and how many other young adults live nearby as the reason for their choice. Read between those lines and you’ll see a developing pattern that looks to snowball into some really fabulous real estate prognostications.
That’s not all, folks. There’s more good news for Williamson County homeowners, but you know I like to leave you wanting more. Next week, I’ll write about median home prices, average days on the market, number of home closings and residential permits. And I’ll try to make those numbers just as exciting and fun as a review of our favorite shows. At the very least, you can be assured that the report I share – in the form of our bottom line, home buying dollars – will be good and happy news!

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