With five months left in the year, the city of Denison is poised to break 2016’s record for single-family building permits, city officials said recently. In 2015, the city issued the most single-family building permits in more than a decade, only for that record to be doubled the very next year.
Denison Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said the city has issued 95 residential building permits to date. At this point last year, the city had issued 63 permits, nearly matching 2015’s total, Reaume said. By the end of 2016, the city had offered 115 permits.
“This years, we’ve been consistently about 10 to 15 permits ahead of where we were last year,” he said.
In an update to city staff and members of the Denison City Council earlier this month, City Manager Jud Rex said the city issued 223 general building permits in the month of June. This included permits for 21 new single-family homes valued at $2.78 million.
Through June, the city of Sherman has issued 89 permits for residential development — a 68 percent increase year-over-year.
“That puts the city on track to build somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 new homes in 2017, which would be one of the biggest years for home building in our city’s history,” Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said in an email. “Grayson County, in general, and Sherman, in particular, sit in a sweet spot for growth right now.”
When asked about trends with Denison’s housing boom, Reaume said the permits crossed all levels and price ranges and was evenly distributed across the city. As of May, the city had issued 20 permits for homes in the three subdivisions within Gateway Village, located near the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 691. Other subdivisions, including ones near Loy Lake Road and Morton Street, also are seeing build out and development in 2017, Reaume said.
In the lower price range, the city issued 18 permits related to the city’s affordable housing program as of May, Reaume said. This program has offered incentives ranging from reduced permitting costs to free lots for the development of low-cost, infill housing options in existing neighborhoods. Many of these lots originally were occupied by residences that have since been demolished.
In the city manager’s report, Rex said the city has completed the demolition of 33 structures, including two commercial properties and one city property. The city currently has 14 properties that are ready for demolition and a total 55 demolition cases ongoing.
Reaume attributed Denison’s success to a surge in development across north Texas and noted many have been attracted by Texoma’s low unemployment rate and ample jobs.
“You know they wouldn’t be building if there wasn’t a demand and that they could sell them,” he said.
Among those who have taken advantage of Denison’s housing boom is developer Joshua Holley, who has done extensive work with the affordable housing program. Currently, Holley has 13 ongoing projects including a housing development on the site of a former church in Denison.
“It is getting busy and we are continuing to grow with the belief that the city will continue to grow,” he said.
Holley said the city has been taking steps to ensure that the housing industry is supported and has the proper infrastructure that it needs to thrive. As an example of this, Holley said the city’s asphalt overlay project, which will see more than $2.2 million of roadway improvements and paving, is largely targeted in neighborhoods that are perfect for the affordable housing program.
“If a city isn’t willing to take those steps then why should I believe in it,” he said, noting that Denison has done just that.