When Steffron James looks out over new construction in the Blackman community, he can't help but smile.
"It's an amazing time," said James. "The permits are coming back again and you see things being developed."
James is a realtor and helps sell new homes built by Michael's Homes, a custom builder in Murfreesboro.
Michael's Homes are building several new houses in a subdivision just off of Fortress Boulevard.
It's prime real estate, just a few miles away from downtown Murfreesboro that up until recently, sat empty.
"But then last year, at the beginning of last year, we started to see a trickle, little signs of life," James told Nashville's News 2.
Like so many cities across the country, Murfreesboro felt the economic downturn.
What seemed like never-ending construction and development came to a grinding halt.
Between 2007 and 2008, the number of permits for single family homes dropped in half, finally bottoming out in 2010.
2010 would mark an 18 year low in new home construction.
"We were pushing things through the system that in hindsight, I would've rather had more time to deliberate on," explained Joseph Aydelott, planning director for the city of Murfreesboro.
Aydelott told Nashville's News 2 he sees promising signs of growth. In 2011, 406 permits for new single family homes were pulled. In 2012, that number went up to 536.
"The economy is not as robust as it should be," said Aydelott. "But I see some indicators that tell me things are improving."
For Michael's Homes, it's not the promise of growth anymore; it's real.
"Last year throughout the whole year, say if I had 25 encounters with people doing deals. This year we're not at the end of January, I've already got 21 on the books. We're seeing that type of increase," said James.
Michael's Homes says four out of seven of their clients right now are people who have never lived in Middle Tennessee.
Aydelott said one of the biggest changes they've seen is smaller housing developments.
Instead of 50 to 100 homes being built at once, it's more like five to 15.
"One of the things I'm going to project is that these trends continue," said Aydelott. "We'll be seeing a more robust activity in 2014, 2015 and 2016. I see every reason to believe those indicators are real."
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