With half the year behind them, officials with Sherman and Denison said each of the cities is poised to see record numbers of new single-family homes developed in 2018. This comes as the region has experienced a housing boom in recent years, with both cities experiencing more housing growth than in past decades.
For the first seven months of the year, the city of Denison issued 95 building permits for new single-family homes, putting the city on pace to meet or surpass the record of 153 permits it issued in 2017. Not to be outdone, the city of Sherman has issued more than 143 permits thus far, with projections to issue 300 by year’s end.
“Right now, we have that number going through the planning and zoning process and that 300 is a conservative number,” Sherman Director of Administration Terrence Steele said. “What you had previously seen in Sherman over years is what we are now seeing in months.”
Denison officials celebrated in 2015 when the city issued more than 50 permits for development, more than had been issued in over a decade. Denison followed that up by breaking the record in 2016 and again in 2017. Now that 2018 is halfway over, city officials said Denison may be on pace to break that record yet again.
“It might be another record-breaking year, it is really hard to say,” City Manager Jud Rex said. “But, we are on track to have another great year in Denison.”
Rex attributed the recent housing boom, in part, to Denison’s affordable housing program which went into place in 2015 and offered incentives for the development of low-cost, affordable homes in developed residential neighborhoods. Among the incentives are reduced permitting fees, use of city roll-off containers for debris and the free lots for development, which were previously owned by the city.
Sherman officials said the 143 permits pulled for single-family home construction represent a $22.6 million value. Last year, the city had issued 116 permits by this time, officials said. If Sherman meets its projected 300 permits for the year, this could represent an $80 million investment in the city’s housing stock.
“The growth that Sherman has experienced in new home construction over the course of the last two years is really astounding,” Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said. “We’ve reached levels of home building that the city hasn’t seen in decades. And it’s not just subdivision construction, either. While developments like Pebblebrook, Austin Landing and Magnolia Village garner headlines by way of their high visibility, it’s important to note what’s happening on the city’s east side, as well.”
Steele said the development is not focused on any one part of the city but is taking place throughout Sherman. Two pockets of growth are along FM 1417 near the site of the planned new Sherman High School and near the road’s intersection with U.S. Highway 75 where the future Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille will be located. Other high-growth areas include the west side of town behind the Sherman Town Center, Steele said.
As area developers have made use of Denison’s infill construction program, replacing what were empty lots with new homes, Rex said the program has entered into the next phase. With the initial inventory of lots having been taken, developers now are looking on their own for available lots for development and construction.
That, in part, has lead to recent conversations by Denison’s Planning and Zoning Commission regarding practical land use versus zoned use. As an example, city officials said there are some lots that could be used for residential development but are instead zoned for commercial, industrial or some other use, despite overwhelmingly residential development nearby.
Beyond infill development, Denison’s recent growth has mainly been concentrated west of Hwy. 75 along FM 691 with a focus on Gateway Village, Denison Community and Development Services Director Kimberly Murray said. For the infill, most of the available lots have been centered around the city’s core, she said.
Many of the homes being built in the new subdivisions range from 1,600 to 2,600 square feet, Murray said, noting one subdivision in Gateway Village requires a minimum of 3,000 square feet. Meanwhile, many of the infill homes range from about 1,600 to 1,800 square feet.
Steele said developers are focusing on all levels of housing, with the home prices ranging from about $140,000 to more than $400,000 on the higher end. Steele attributed this recent growth to the build-out and development seen in recent years in Frisco, McKinney and other northern Dallas suburbs.
“What we are seeing is developers from McKinney and Frisco looking north,” he said. “They are out of the hustle and bustle of your McKinneys. They are discovering Sherman and Denison, and it is a diamond in the rough.”
While there are other cities along the Hwy. 75 corridor, Steele said Sherman and Denison are both blessed with ample water infrastructure, good schools and a strong employer base that is acting as an attractor for development.
Murray said many of the new homes are being purchased by people moving in to Denison. While some are from other parts of the state, including the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Murray said she has received calls from as far away as California from people considering a move to Denison. In other cases, it is someone looking to downsize to a smaller home that is fueling this growth, she said.
Murray said she is uncertain how long this period of growth could last for Denison, but noted the city is making strides to help support the growth as it continues.
“I don’t know if there is any way for us to predict how our development growth will continue to occur,” she said. “I know the city is working hard to allocate capital resources in putting in and replacing aging infrastructure.”