By Marty Price. Nationally, new home sales have risen to the highest levels since 2007, but they’re still below the peak level of 1.39 million units in July 2005. July was the first month that the rate exceeded 600,000 since early 2008. Before the recession, the last full year below that mark was in 1991.
“Home building is up a little each year but we aren’t back to the pre-recessions days,” says William Niblock, vice president of Concord-based Niblock Homes. “We are gradually getting better, not gangbusters, but we are seeing improvement,” he said.
For the first nine months, single-family permits issued so far this year are actually down from last year in Cabarrus. There were there were 1,042 building permits this year, vs. 1064 permits during the first nine months of last year.
Still, it well ahead of 2013 when only 850 permits were issued.
With acres of farmland and easy access to 485 and 85, Harrisburg is a boom town. Nearly 1,000 homes are planned near Rocky River Road and Robinson Church Road in three new subdivisions.
The 297-lot Blume subdivision, located on Rocky River Road and connected to Hickory Ridge Road, is only half built out with new houses going up every day. Homes range from 2,025 square feet to 3,750 square feet with a prices between $283,000 and $482,000.
On a recent Friday, six houses were being built within eyesight of the corner of Red Maple Lane and Snap Dragon Drive. The streets in the subdivision are lined with work crews, with the sounds of hammering ringing out from almost every direction.
Josh Watkins, planning and zoning director for the Town of Harrisburg, said that is only the beginning. “They are already breaking ground at Grantham,” he said.
Grantham is a 269-lot subdivision Avanti Properties Group is developing off Robinson Church Road. Ryan Homes is the builder.
The neighborhood straddles the Mecklenburg County line with 248 homes in Cabarrus, and the other 21 homes in Mecklenburg.
The next development will be even bigger. The 240-home Holcomb Woods subdivision is being developed by Georgia-based Ardent Co. A small portion is age-controlled, a fast-growing market segment in North Carolina.
Home building increases in Cabarrus County has attracted nationally known builders as well.
In September nationally ranked builder D.R. Horton paid $2.1 million for 155 acres on Zion Church Road with plans for future development.
Cabarrus government is laying in infrastructure to support growth.
“All of the things that we do to attract economic development and growth of our job and tax base also makes us a desirable place to live. We have excellent schools, a growing culture and arts community, vibrant cities with aggressive redevelopment plans, competitive tax rates, good transportation routes and forward-thinking elected officials,” said County Commission Chair Steve Morris.
Of course, proximity to Charlotte helps.
“We have area plans that direct development into areas of the county where infrastructure is in place while preserving farm land and open spaces in other areas. Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the needs for new schools. We are working cooperatively with our school boards and school staff to anticipate our needs to try to stay ahead of the curve on facility needs,” Morris said.
Indeed, Cabarrus County has just paid about $3.9 million for a little over 100 acres on Weddington Road for the location of a high school. “Planning continues for schools and other infrastructure that will be needed for the families that will live there,” Morris said.