(The Center Square) – In a housing market booming across the country, Clarksville stands out.
A recent National Association of Realtors report shows that while the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin metro area is one of the largest growing markets in the country, it is Clarksville that ranks as the fifth-fastest growing housing market in the U.S. in terms of new housing permits.
Clarksville's growth coincides with a jobs boom in Nashville, which is located less than an hour away, but it also has seen its own boom with the growth of small businesses and employers such as Hankook Tire.
Hankook announced in February it would double production at its Clarksville facility. LG Electronics also announced this year it was adding 300 new jobs at its appliance manufacturing facility in Clarksville.
“Clarksville is just growing like crazy,” said Ron Dayley, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Clarksville. “We’re like the 5th-biggest city, and it’s still growing. We’re still a small-town mentality, but it’s a medium sized town.”
Dayley cited a 2019 ranking from Money Magazine that called Clarksville the Best Place to Live Right Now.
“To all the millennials moving in, the city of about 160,000 people is a place they can afford to plant down roots,” Money's story read. “The average age of a Clarksville resident is only 29, almost a decade younger than the state of Tennessee as a whole. And guess what? They’re actually buying houses.”
The National Association of Realtors report said there were 3,149 new single-family home permit requests in Clarksville from April 2020 to April 2021, a 122.3% increase from the previous year. San Angelo, Texas, was the fastest-growing market at 178.4%, the report said.
Dayley said Clarksville was the farthest away from Nashville people are willing to commute and estimated 20% of his clients looking to buy are Nashville commuters.
He also said a lot of investors from California or Texas are selling homes in those state and buying multiple homes in areas such as Clarksville. They use them as rentals and hold the properties.
“There are new subdivisions popping up everywhere,” Dayley said. “There is just no inventory.”
Dayley said farmland often is getting rezoned and converted into plots because there aren’t new places to build or there is infill, with highly distressed homes getting purchased, torn down and replaced by larger new homes.
Over the past year, Clarksville has added 7,400 new jobs, according to the report. The Nashville area has added 89,800 jobs, while Knoxville (22,900), Memphis (36,800), Chattanooga (14,800), Johnson City (4,300) and Jackson (3,900) also were on the list.
Johnson City had 20 new jobs per housing permit, and Jackson had 19.
“Building permits provide an estimate of the number of new housing units that have been authorized by the government,” the report said. “Specifically, in April, 46% of metro areas are issuing more single-family building permits than the historical average.”