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Building boom

By Staff
Subdivisions, new houses springing up throughout area
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
If you're thinking about buying or building a new house in Hartselle anytime soon, you may not want to wait any longer to strike a deal. That's the message being send by a building boom that is consuming approved building lots at a record pace.
Figures released recently by the city's department of development show that since 1994, 1,040 new houses were built in 17 approved subdivisions. Of that number, 186 were townhouses. Hickory Heights topped the list with 115. Pine Knoll had 95, Booth Meadows, 84, Glenwood and Lakesouth Village, each with 79, and Eastland Place, 66.
Today, the combined number of available lots in these subdivisions is 203. Lakesouth Village has the most with 42. Hickory Heights has 32, Stone Hills, 19, Turtle Pond, 18, Booth Meadows, 17, and Eastland Place, 15.
During the same period, 229 new apartment units were built.
While residential building activity has flourished here for an extended period, the availability of suitable land for future development inside the city has also diminished, according to Jeff Johnson, DOD director.
For that trend to change, annexation will have to occur, he said.
What are new homebuyers looking for? Debbie Booth, an agent with Coldwell Banker Team Hartselle Real Estate answered that question.
"It's really a mixed bag but most buyers like a lot of 'wow' in a new house. They want a bonus room…one that can double as an office and living space. They also like for it to be loaded with amenities such as crown molding, tile, recessed lighting and upgraded appliances," she pointed out.
"There is also a trend toward keeping the home simple and as maintenance-free as possible," she added.
"Location is a matter of personal preference," she said. "Some buyers want a sloping lot with lots of trees. Others want a level lot with no trees."
Builder/developer Warner Crow said new homebuyers are attracted to Hartselle because of the small town atmosphere.
"We have good schools and a low crime rate. We don't have some of the problems larger cities have, and it's easy to live here and work somewhere else," he pointed out.
He said builders are attracted to the city because it is a good market for new homes and the city's building inspectors are easy to work with. "It a level playing field here because the building codes are enforced on a fair and equal basis," he stated.
"The terrain you have to deal with in Hartselle is a disadvantage to developers," he pointed out. "It raises the cost of getting a lot ready to build on. That's why we're seeing fewer large residential developments."
He said he expects to see a limited number of lots suitable for large houses (2,500 to 3,500 sq.) to be available in the future. "We have found there's a good demand for patio homes (medium-sized houses on small lots) and that's where we are concentrating our efforts at present. We do all of the building and are able to maintain the same high construction standards you'll find in larger homes."
The diminishing number of residential lots ready to build on and the lack of sewer in areas where land is available for development is something Hartselle will have to deal with in the near future if the current rate of residential growth is sustained, he said.