Greenville, Hunt County’s housing market is red-hot | News

James Charles Patterson has seen many booms, bubbles, and busts in the Texas real estate market over the years, but he’s never seen anything like it.

The half-tired real estate agent, who owned mostly Greenville and Hunt Counties businesses for the past 45 years, said the current real estate market in the county is unlike anything he has ever seen. What he sees is a mix of the low inventory of existing homes and a booming new housing market, particularly in Caddo Mills.

“The new homes that are being built are mind-boggling,” said Patterson. “There you can see the majority of all residential activities.”

All over the county, manufacturing builders are moving to Hunt County like never before, but there is also strong demand for existing homes, driven by several factors, including what many believe is a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mandy Stewart, a real estate agent at ReMax 3D Realty, listed a house and before she could even begin the marketing process, there were 13 screenings that weekend. The data points are pretty clear – just check out one of the real estate websites.

There are 45 single-family homes in Greenville on Zillow. That is at any cost. Do you want something affordable? Let’s say under $ 250,000? This list is limited to only 30 objects. At Realtor.com, the real situation is a little clearer as you can filter pending sales from the total number of listings.

In Hunt County, there are 342 homes listed on the Realtor.com website, but only 120 of them are active. Cynics say this is a bubble, but others say the coronavirus pandemic played a role in fueling interest.

Speaking of interest: record-low lending rates have also contributed to this boom.

When you ask this question of builders Larry and Scott Ellis, they are almost in harmony in answering what is driving demand. “Interest rates,” say the men.

“Interest rates are the key,” said Larry Ellis. “They drive this. When I got my first home loan, it was 8.5%. Guess what? It’s no longer 8.5%. ”

Patterson and the Ellises agree that the aftermath of the pandemic is fueling part of this movement, especially for those who may have had to work from home in the past year.

“We’re seeing two reasons for moving – people wanting to leave a huge city and those who were allowed to work from home during the pandemic,” Patterson said.

They can’t build them fast enough for builders like the Ellises. Family-owned Scott Ellis Homes has already sold out its Ellis Farms properties and is fast approaching a sale of the first three stages of Stonewood Estates, where homes start at $ 239,000.

“Demand is high,” said Scott Ellis. “People are willing to wait five to six months for a house to get a house they want.”

Scott Ellis’s business is so fast that he doesn’t even have a show home to show buyers and that seeing up to 20 potential buyers drive through the neighborhood just off Centerpoint Lane is not atypical. At some point they’ll be building a model on an entrance on Traders Road, but right now, word of mouth seems to be driving buyers.

“The product we have doesn’t exist in Greenville,” said Scott Ellis of his development, which includes a range of models that start at 1,600 square feet and go all the way up to 2,800 square foot homes. “We have larger lot sizes and work with our buyers to customize their homes.”

At this point, an off-market buyer can buy a prime Ellis home for $ 380,000 – a steal compared to the Dallas area.

“It’s never been like this,” said Larry Ellis of the hot demand. “That’s great. We’ve never had what’s going on right now.”

Hunt County’s building activity nearly collapsed after the Great Recession – a story that has been told time and again across the country. In 2012, only 26 single-family home building permits were issued in the city of Greenville, according to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. In 2020, amid the pandemic, housing starts exceeded 300 in Greenville alone – alone. The 2019 numbers for Hunt County were a record according to the data.

Steve Methven, the city’s development director, said more than 300 single-family building permits were issued in 2020 – another record.

“My hope for the future would be to see more houses on a larger scale and I’m happy to say that we are currently working on one of those houses,” said Methven. “We are definitely in the new retail and industrial marketplace as it will allow more people to live and shop in our city.”

On Tuesday evening, Greenville City Council approved projects to create an additional 250 residential units by reallocating two lots along Farm-to-Market Road 1570 in southwest Greenville.

Even before the homes were approved, Methven was almost dizzy when he presented the first application for re-zoning to the Planning and Zoning Commission, and he explains that these projects will lead to others as both builders will expand utilities to this area, including water and water sewers.

“Because of the distances they have to travel, it opens up greater development of vacant land that did not have these utilities. This is certainly a win-win for the city of Greenville,” Methven said.

The Ellises will build Stonewood Estates with more than 200 additional homes in the coming years, but they are also planning another major project called Ellis Estates on the city limits that will bring an additional 200 homes to market.

And then?

Well, Methven, Scott Ellis, Larry Ellis, and others are bullish.

“As you can see, the Greenville pandemic hasn’t slowed Greenville in terms of building permits,” Methven said. “We are always looking for new housing developments as many people are moving in our direction. My hope for the future would be to see more houses on a larger scale and I am happy to say that we are working on one of these houses right now. ”