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From WMOT News

Dream of owning a mid-state home increasingly out of reach for many

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WMOT.org
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Middle Tennessee realtors and builders are sounding the alarm over the rising cost of mid-state housing.

Their largest concern is for low and middle-income families who are being priced out of the market.

Candy Joyce heads the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors.  She says when Nashville home prices began to rise twenty years ago it was like having a stone dropped in a pond.

The ripples were low-wage workers being pushed out of Metro into surrounding counties to find affordable housing. She says the problem has accelerated in recent years.

“We don’t have enough new construction, anything under $200,000. So that’s kind of inhibiting some of our activities here in this marketplace.”

Joyce says the ripple effect is now being felt even further out, with home prices now rising in Bedford, Cannon and Coffee counties.

Keith Porterfield leads the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee. He agrees home ownership may soon be out of reach for the workers who keep the mid-state humming along.

“There’s a lot of instances where fireman, policeman, teachers, medical professionals, are having to move farther and farther out from the core just because of affordability.”

Porterfield says the rising cost of land is one factor leading to higher prices. He also complains that, rather than raise taxes, local officials are shifting the cost of roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure to builders. He says those costs are ultimately passed on to the home buyer.

Candy Joyce says there are also bright spots in the marketplace. She notes that interest rates are still relatively low and home values continue to rise.