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VOL. 37 | NO. 1 | Friday, January 04, 2013
Infill homes allow more to enjoy first-tier suburbs
By Renee Elder
Infill homes, like this one on Lone Oak in Green Hills, are usually the result of an existing older home being razed and replaced with two or more houses on the same lot. -- Photo: Lyle Graves | Nashville Ledger
Downtown Nashville has transformed itself over the past decade, adding a full menu of upscale hotels, trendy restaurants and cultural amenities, along with the Titans and Predators.
That transformation has created a strong demand among home buyers looking to enjoy all those attractions, and they are turning to first-tier suburbs such as Belmont, Green Hills and East Nashville to accomplish that goal.
“We get more clients who want to get out and go downtown for various reasons, so we’re seeing an influx of people coming in from the suburbs to live in more urban areas,” says John Brittle, an agent with Village Realty who specializes in infill development – housing that fills in where lot acreage is built to below its capacity.
Infill homes are popping up frequently in Green Hills where an acre lot with one single house may now be approved for two or more residences. This provides an incentive for home builders to buy the lot, knock down the existing 1940s ranch-style dwelling and build two or three modern two-story alternatives.
“Right now we’ve got two houses, each on half-acre lots, in Green Hills selling for between $450,000 to $850,000,” Brittle says.
Of course, many home buyers have other items higher on their wish list such as excellent public schools or community amenities including swimming pools or golf, says Sissy Allen, relocation specialist with Fridrich and Clark Realty.
“In-town is always a great place; young executives, especially, like to move into a central location like Green Hills or Central Avenue-Richland,” Allen says. “And living near big health care centers such as Vanderbilt is always a big draw.”
“Then again schools are very high on some families’ lists. That’s why Williamson County remains so very strong.”
Finding a family-friendly, in-town neighborhood, with good schools and a convenient location, can be the best of both worlds, and Green Hills is known for a plethora of quality education options, public and private, she adds.
Brittle agrees, adding that he’s begun to see families abandon Williamson County for western Davidson as commute times on Interstate 65 south grow longer.
“They’re cutting out commute time, time they can be home with their family doing whatever they want instead of being stuck in traffic or spending all weekend cutting the lawn,” he says. “And they see in-town living as a health concept. They like to have access to a walkable community. That’s one of the requests we are getting more and more often in Green Hills.”
Younger couples and retirees are other popular segments among the Green Hills house hunter demographic.
“It’s a lifestyle choice,” Brittle says. “I talked to one woman this week who is about to retire from a job in government. She has been living in Cheatham County and driving three hours a day.
“Now she and her husband want a really efficient house with lower utilities. They want to use their time to travel, to have more fun. Instead of square footage, they’re talking about quality of life.”