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VOL. 110 | NO. 71 | Wednesday, April 10, 1996

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04-10 chg housing starts Cordova tops area home building for first quarter By CAMILLE H. GAMBLE The Daily News Cordova leads the area in housing starts for the first quarter of 1996 for Shelby County, with 343 building permits filed for residential construction valued at an average of $128,026 per permit. Cordova is by far the hottest area for new homes in the county, and the Hacks Cross Road and Shelby Drive area comes in a distant second with 115 permits filed at an average of $117,609 per project, according to records provided by the county code enforcement office and compiled by The Daily News Online. "We agree with the masses," said Phil Chamberlain, president of Chamberlain and McCreery. "We are heavy into Cordova, and we are also heavy into the Hacks Cross Road/Shelby Drive area. The southeast part of the market has definitely picked back up." Paul Ryan, president of the Home Builders Association of Memphis, expects Cordova to continue to grow to the extent land is available, and local builders forecast that the southeast area will only grow more with the opening of Nonconnah Parkway. "Nonconnah will have a tremendous affect on the market," said Bobbie Gillis of FaxonGillis Homes. Gillis said her company builds higher-end homes in Cordova that sell between $125,000 and $170,000, but in the Hacks Cross Road/Shelby Drive area, her company has a much greater range. She said in the southeast, FaxonGillis builds homes that start at $118,000. According to first quarter figures, the average value of permits filed, not actual costs, are still more for the Cordova area than the Hacks Cross Road area. But Germantowns average value of permits is even greater, with 48 permits filed in the first quarter at an average value of $266,542 per permit. In the 38139 zip code, or Houston Levee area, 14 permits were filed at an average of $340,071 per permit. Collierville also is a higher-end market. Only 13 houses were started in the first quarter, but the average value was $251,692. Downtown is still alive in the residential market. There were 20 projects which began the first quarter, at an average of $139,800 per house. This can be attributed mainly to building on the South Bluffs and in Harbor Town. Chris Christian of Lenox Homes LLC said he and partner Kevin Hyneman are finishing phase 1 of a 50-lot subdivision on the river which features upscale homes for the first-time home buyer. He said construction on phase 2, which will consist of 90 lots, should begin in the fall. Bartlett continues to be a hot market, and some builders see it now as a market for second- and third-time new home buyers. "Bartlett is becoming more and more of a move-up market," Christian said. "Its getting hard to find a new home in Bartlett for the first-time buyer." "Through 1996, we will have a position in Bartlett," Chamberlain said. "Right now we are trying to buy some property for 1997 in Bartlett." The Arlington market is growing, and some builders say the Wolfchase Galleria Mall, which will be about 10 minutes from Arlington, is one of the main factors. In the first quarter, 52 residential permits were filed for construction in the Arlington zip code, at an average of $136,962 per permit, which is more than the Cordova or Hacks Cross Road areas. "I think the new mall will have more influence on the construction in the northeast part of the county than on Cordova, particularly the Lakeland and Arlington areas," Ryan said. Ryan said if Lakeland can get some of its sewer problems solved, it and Arlington could be the hot spots in the next few years. Overall, the current market for home building is good, according to Gillis. "The inventory is low, and prices are going up," she said. Although there seems to be an increase in home building in Shelby County, there are also people still moving to Mississippi. "A lot of people are looking into the opportunities in DeSoto County, and so are we right now," Chamberlain said. "We havent purchased anything at this point in time. A lot of people are racing down to Olive Branch, and we are just going to watch it for a while." This story and its accompanying graphic provide the latest available information on construction activity in Shelby County. It is the first in a series of quarterly updates on local economic activity. The records are provided by the office of construction code enforcement and compiled by The Daily News Online.
PROPERTY SALES 207 263 9,865
MORTGAGES 197 246 10,862
BUILDING PERMITS 138 686 21,643
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219