Grosse Pointe FarmsJune 21, 2012
Farms enjoys boom in new construction
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The Farms is experiencing something a bit unprecedented this year: a new construction housing boom.
At press time, there were four new houses under construction in the city, and Public Service Director Terry Brennan said he issued a permit for a fifth during the first week in June.
“It’s the most houses under construction since I’ve been here,” said Brennan, who has been working for the Farms for the last 13 years.
New home locations include lots on Lake Shore, Kerby and Windemere. And Brennan said he’d been fielding inquiries about three more lots in the city.
Brennan said the homes under construction are going up on what had been vacant properties. That’s a big benefit to the city’s tax rolls, which have taken a substantial hit in recent years because of the recession and the resulting dramatic drop in property values. Several of the new homes are in the $650,000-$1.7 million price range, and while City Manager Shane Reeside said they don’t yet know how those homes will be assessed, they’ll still be added to the tax rolls, increasing revenue for city services.
Because the city is already built up, Reeside said, they usually only see about one new home built a year. That’s been the average over the last five years, he said.
The building boom is also a sign that things are starting to turn around for the region.
“I think it’s a show of confidence for the long-term viability of the community, to see the level of investment that is being made by both businesses and residents alike,” Reeside said. Farms businesswoman and philanthropist Gretchen Valade provides just the latest example of this type of investment, having announced plans to open a shoe store on the Hill in a currently vacant storefront.
In addition to new construction, Reeside said, permit revenue for additions, home improvements and the like is on the upswing.
“That was one bright spot in this year’s budget,” he said. “Our revenues did exceed what we had budgeted for permit revenue” for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Housing values have become more stable over the last couple of years, Reeside said. He said the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors reports fewer properties on the market and fewer in foreclosure. It’s a trend officials are seeing throughout the Pointes.
“Hopefully, this means the housing market has turned a corner and we will begin to see some upward movement in property values,” Reeside said.
But for those thinking about moving to the community, bargains remain.
“Home values are still much lower than they were at the market peak, so it’s still a great opportunity to invest in the Grosse Pointe communities,” Reeside said.
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