NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Nashville Chamber of Commerce estimates for every 100 people moving into the city every day, another 23 choose Rutherford County, but the growth is having a major impact on property value, developers, and the middle class.
Dayton Brown owns Hedgewood Builders and his houses are his pride and joy, but with Rutherford County’s growth, he’s finding it hard to make his homes affordable and even generate a profit.
“It’s very difficult to build a house that’s at an affordable price,” Brown said, “It’s just the building cost, the land cost, the material cost, the labor, and nobody seems to be making an excessive amount of money at it.”
Robert Stevens, a county commissioner, told News 2, “We’ve been so successful here, that the property of land has increased greatly, so the developers that want to build subdivisions can only build houses and make a profit if the houses are over a certain dollar amount.”
The average home in Rutherford now lists for about $300,000 dollars, but that’s not even reasonable for Brown.
“The houses we build really start around 450 to a million plus,” Brown said, “I can’t compete with an entry-level house even those houses themselves are almost more than I can afford.”
“If you go look at the subdivisions that are being built, you’re not going to find smaller homes. They’re all nice $250, $350,000 dollar homes,” Stevens added, “There’s not as many houses in the middle section for starter homes.”
That’s why Rutherford is seeing so many new apartment complexes. It’s the only way developers can keep up with demand and make their money.
“Instead of one house on an acre, you can potentially have twenty plus apartments,” Brown explained.
“There’s not a good answer. Some people want to put a moratorium on new growth until the county can keep up with infrastructure, but all that’s gonna do is increase home prices and increase rents for all the people that continue to move here,” Stevens said.
He added that some of the solutions they’ve heard from residents include impact fees or development fees, but he said those will all have their downsides too. He said it’s an issue the county will have to weigh out the pros and cons and decide how to best keep up with growth.