A new 83-lot subdivision planned for the west side of Athens will provide a needed boost to the inventory of available homes in a city that had a population increase of 33% from 2000 to 2020, real estate agents said.
Stoneridge Homes plans to develop the subdivision on 35.21 acres near West Market Street and Lucas Ferry. Matt Davidson, city planner, said the houses will be three to four bedrooms and on 9,000-square-foot lots.
The planned lot size required the property to be rezoned by the City Council last month from an R-1-2 medium density single family residential district to an R-1-3 high density single family residential district.
Larry Wisdom with Stoneridge said while a conceptual layout for the subdivision has been drawn, price ranges and home sizes haven’t been determined.
“We’re still in the process of working through the details, so we’re not really able to answer questions,” he said.
Davidson said the lots will be the same size as the Watercress Subdivision on Lucas Ferry across the street. Davidson said those houses have been selling in a range from mid $300,000 to low $400,000.
Gobble-Fite Lumber Co. of Decatur owns the Limestone County property where the new subdivision will be built and is selling it to Stoneridge.
Athens Councilwoman Dana Henry, whose District 4 includes the area for the subdivision, said, “From the rate of growth we are experiencing, housing is an issue. Houses, by and large, aren’t staying on the market very long, which tells you people are buying.”
Athens’ population increased from 19,084 in 2000 to 25,406 in the 2020 census. From 2010-20, the population increased by 3,509 people, a 6% jump. Linda Coons, a real estate agent for CRYE-LEIKE in Athens, also said housing inventory remains low.
“We are needing listings. As soon as something goes on the market, it’s sold because we do not have enough right at the moment. The new subdivisions are good.”
Limestone County had 163 homes for sale as of Friday, according to Valley MLS. There were 2,546 homes sold in the county in 2021. Pre-pandemic, there were 2,086 home sales in 2019. Coons said Athens needs homes to sell in all price ranges, especially in the lower end.
“Most of the homes that are being built are $250,000 and above. I think the most popular price right now is around $300,000,” Coons said. “A lot of the homes, say low $200,000, are being scarfed up by investors.”
Most new subdivisions contain higher end homes because more money can be made by building them, Coons said.
The number of residential units that have either been approved for development or are currently being developed in Athens since the end of 2018 is 7,845. Davidson said a unit consists of apartments, townhomes and single family homes.
Henry said some people in town are concerned about the growth and the impact it is having. Population growth brings more traffic and the need for more schools, law enforcement officers and fire stations.
“We have a lot of work to do to get ready for what we already know is coming,” Henry said.
Traffic can become an issue in the new subdivision’s area, Henry said.
“If that area continues to grow as projected, that is something we’re going to have a really serious look at, managing the traffic on the road,” she said. “Those are the challenges we’re facing in Athens. There’s growth everywhere and we are doing our best to stay on top of it.”
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