NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With so many people moving to Nashville, builders are having to get creative to fit in all the new homes. Tall-skinny homes have become a popular option. News 2 talked to a builder to find out why Nashville and the tall-skinny seem to be inseparable.
“Probably started my first tall-skinny in 2017,” said Trevor Garrett, president of Cobalt Ventures.
Garrett not only builds tall-skinnies, but he also calls one home.
“I didn’t know how I would like it before I moved into it; I love my house that I’m currently in.”
He gave a tour of two tall-skinnies his team at Cobalt Ventures is building right now in The Nations.
“Tall and skinnies are definitely selling,” said Garrett. “We have four similar to this going currently.”
Garrett said Nashville’s tall-skinny craze started about a decade ago with three major shifts: the economy, consumer tastes and zoning.
First, the economy. Rewind to 2013, emerging from the lows of the Great Recession, Nashville’s economy started to rev up.
“Nashville started to boom, and there’s a desire to be closer to downtown, instead of being farther out, so it was the way to get more density downtown,” said Garrett.
Consumer tastes were shifting, too. Instead of the American dream of the ranch home on a half acre, buyers started looking for convenience.
“I think you’re seeing an overall change to what’s walkable, what’s bikeable and less focus on cars. And these homes fit right into that.”
But, Garrett said, it also took two big zoning changes to bring about Nashville’s modern tall-skinny trend: 1. the state’s horizontal property regime act, and 2. detached duplex rules.
“Between the detached duplex laws, the horizontal property regime, that’s what allows us to be able to build two houses on one lot,” said Garrett.
“A lot of the business sense on doing two versus one goes back to land value.”
In addition, land is scarce. Garrett said his passion is creating affordable homes, and the lack of space is making affordable more out of reach for the middle class.
“It’s pretty hard to find good land to build on at the right price.”
Does that change any time soon? Garrett doesn’t think so.
However, he said one change would certainly help: lots that currently allow only one home, he would like to be allowed to build two, as long as one is market rate and the second is affordable housing.
“I feel like that would be an extremely easy change to the zoning code. You can deliver hundreds, if not thousands, of affordable houses to Nashville every year. It’s just something, there’s not the political will to do that.”
The tall-skinnies Garrett highlighted cost about $600,000 to build, and they could sell anywhere from $700,000 to $800,000.