For many communities across Texoma, the past four years have seen strong growth in the local housing market, with each year surpassing the year before. Now, as 2018 nears its end, area officials say this trend is continuing.
With more than a month left in the year, the cities of Sherman and Denison are reporting that they have or will soon pass the number of single-family housing permits issued in 2017. This comes on the heels of recent growth as development spreads north from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
“The city of Sherman has already easily eclipsed the total number of homes permitted last year and we're on pace to break 200 by the end of the 2018, which would be the most building activity in several decades,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said Tuesday.
For the year, Strauch said the city has issued 173 permits — an increase of 18 from the previous year. These new homes include $150,000 infill projects on Sherman's east side and the development of $300,000 homes on the far west side of town.
“It's vital that we're hitting all those different price points, as it allows the city to grow through a diverse blend of families, professionals and retirees,” Strauch said.
In addition to the growth in the single-family market, Strauch said multi-family projects saw a 250 percent increase this year, adding to the city's rental stock.
With more than a month left in the year, Denison officials said earlier this month that the city is quickly closing in on the 153 permits issued last year for single family residential construction. This is more than triple what Denison issued in 2015, when it broke a 10-year record on housing permits.
“We are on schedule to do that again this year,” City Manager Jud Rex said on Nov. 16, regarding breaking records. “We had 146 as of today. Typically, we do see a slowdown (in the winter), but we haven't seen it yet this year.”
With an additional 12 permits in review, Rex said Denison estimates it will issue about 160 permits this year, showing modest growth over 2017's numbers.
Rex said these new homes cover the spectrum of costs, however most fell within the $150,000 to $250,000 range. The largest portion, 70, of these homes represent infill development in existing neighborhoods. An additional 49 permits came out of the three subdivisions within the Gateway Village development. Another 27 were for development in other areas of the city, Rex said.
“More than half our permits are for more affordable homes in or near the core of Denison,” Rex said.
Rex noted that very little of the infill development this year is related to the city's affordable housing program — an initiative that offered an incentive for the development of low-cost homes, of about $120,000 or less, in infill lots. The incentives offered included free lots offered by Denison, reduced permitting costs and flexibility on some design aspects.
Rex said the issue with the program is that the interest in these homes has caused the value to increase beyond the scope of the program. What would originally sell for about $115,000, now sells for $140,000 or more, he said. This has made it all the more difficult for developers to build homes within the guidelines of the program. Additionally, Rex said the city has few excess lots to offer for development.
“I would definitely say it has been a success; almost too much for the program,” Rex said.
Despite the slowdown of the program, Rex said it caused a renewed interest in infill development within Denison. Despite the city no longer having lots available, Rex said there are still plenty of infill lots on the market.
“I think the challenge will be hunting down the owners and working with the builders to work on the purchase of those lots,” Rex said.
Rex said Denison saw little movement in 2018 with regard to multi-family development. However, as the city has seen the development of three new apartment complexes in the past two years, Rex said he feels this need is met for the time being.