For Denison officials, 2015 was a banner year for housing as the city issued its highest number of housing permits in more than a decade. Only one year later, the city broke its recent record again when it issued 115 permits — one short of double 2015’s numbers — as the housing market continued to boom.
Now, as the end of 2017 approaches, the city is setting a new standard for growth as it surpasses 2016’s totals. As of this week, the city had issued 116 permits — one more than last year — with more than three months remaining in the year.
By year’s end, officials with the city estimate that more than 140 permits may be issued in 2017.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for the city and a chance to see all the housing development that is taking place,” City Manager Jud Rex said. “This is the fruit of the labor for many people over many years.”
Denison Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said the city finished last week with 113 permits issued for the year, however, an additional three were officially cleared and issued at the start of the week, he said. By the end of the week, another six permits should be cleared, he said.
Reaume said he had a running bet with his staff regarding when and if the record would be broken, and he will now be treating them to lunch.
Similarly, the city of Sherman has also seen strong numbers in single-family construction permits. Through the month of August, the city has issued 124 permits — a 68 percent increase over 2016. This year’s totals are also up 84 percent compared to the five-year average, Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said via email.
“The growth in Sherman’s population, which has really been in overdrive the last few years, continues to incentivize local homebuilders to develop new houses at a furious pace,” he said. “And with more amenities coming online soon at the Sherman Crossroads, Town Center, and Sherman Landing commercial developments, it figures to propel and even accelerate that rate of growth in the coming years.”
The growth in housing in Denison has covered the majority of the city, Reaume said. Likewise, it has covered the gamut of price points, with new home values ranging from just over $66,000 to $440,000. Similarly, floor plans ranged from just over 1,000 square feet to nearly 4,000 square feet.
About 25 percent of the permits issued were for homes that were or could have been a part of the city’s ongoing affordable housing program, which offers perks and incentives for the development of low-cost, infill housing options throughout the city.
The perks often offered through this program include reduced permitting fees, the use of roll-off containers for construction debris and free lots for development in existing neighborhoods.
Following the success of the affordable housing program, Denison also unveiled a similar program for all other single-family homes, however that program is expected to end this month.
Due to the success of the program, Reaume said the city was seeing development of housing projects in these neighborhoods that are just beyond the thresholds of the affordable housing program. Reaume said many of these homes range from about $125,000 to $135,000 and represent a high quality of housing.
After seeing the successes of the program, Reaume believes it has encouraged developers to take a look at areas that traditionally would be overlooked for development.
“Up until recently, you didn’t have new housing starts in parts of town for decades,” he said.
On the more expensive side of the market, Reaume said construction of new homes is still going strong in Gateway Village, an upscale development at the corner of FM 691 and U.S. Highway 75. Reaume said construction on a second phase of the Fawn Meadows subdivision in Gateway Village is expected to start soon.
“We certainly need to continue this momentum,” Reaume said. “I think we are in good shape for the next few years as Gateway Village builds out.”
Looking beyond Gateway Village, Reaume said the next major hurdle for Denison will come from the lack of new subdivisions. While the city has had recent success in filling out its existing subdivisions, Reaume said the city will soon need new neighborhoods to continue this growth.
Brad Sylvester of Banks Construction is among the developers working during Denison’s most recent housing boom. Banks plans to soon start work on a new 41-lot subdivision along Stafford Drive.
“I think the economy is doing better now,” he said, referring to the housing market collapse of 2008 and 2009. “I think some people were ready for some updated homes and with the economy as it is the right was right.”
The majority of the homes Sylvester has built in Denison have been a part of the affordable housing program, but he has also done many custom and speculative homes as well recently, he said. The incentive programs offered for housing development have encouraged him and other builders to choose Denison, he said.
“The incentives they offer definitely make it easier to build here,” Sylvester said.