Increasing home prices in Antioch turn residents to alternatives for affordable housing

Home prices continue to increase at an exponential rate in Middle Tennessee and Antioch is no different.

Prices have gotten so high that retirees, like Rochelle Grigsby, have to turn to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville to find an affordable place to live.

“It was something that I thought could never afford but Habitat made it possible,” Grigsby said Friday, April 28, while watching volunteers from Nissan North America and members of the automotive media work on her future home in a neighborhood off Smith Springs Road in Anitoch.

Grigsby isn’t alone in her struggle to find affordable housing.

Affordable Housing Heat Map

A heat map showing reappraisal values in Davidson County. Blue is an increase of up to 30 percent; red is an increase of up to 45 percent. (Courtesy of the Davidson County Property Assessor’s office)

The recent county-wide reappraisal showed a 37 percent median increase since 2013 across Davidson County. Some areas around downtown Nashville saw appraised values soar upwards of 45 percent. Around Antioch, the increase in home values was around 30 percent, according to the Davidson County Property Assessor’s Office.

The reappraisal was so high, it knocked Metro’s tax rate from $4.516 to $3.155, according to the Metro budget for fiscal year 2017-18.

But a reappraisal doesn’t give full market value.

Over the past four years, prices for homes sold in Antioch’s main zip code, 37013, have increased a staggering 47 percent, said Steven Dotson, president of Red Realty and issuer of the Red Report, a monthly report on the housing market in Davidson, Rutherford, Wilson and Williamson counties.

“In 2013, the average sales price was $183,035,” he said. “In the last 12 months, the average sales price was $269,196.”

After looking at prices from across the midstate, Dotson said the price for a closed home sale was also up 47 percent from March 2013 to March 2017.

The issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by Metro’s leadership. In an attempt to help more people like Grigsby, Mayor Megan Barry has made affordable housing one of the signature issues of her tenure.

She has championed programs like the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, which has invested more than $4 million in affordable housing since 2013, funding more than 100 housing units; launched the Housing Incentives Pilot Program, which motivates private developers to incorporate affordable and workforce units into their developments; and spearheaded the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, which requires homebuilders to set aside part of their developments for affordable or workforce housing or pay a fee.

With home prices as skyrocketing, it’s no surprise that Grigsby turned to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville.

Habitat for Humanit

Rochelle Grigsby, left, helps volunteer Tara Weingarten, founder of VroomGirls.com, stay hydrated April 28, 2017, in Antioch, Tenn. Weingarten volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville with other members of the automotive media thanks to a program through Nissan North America. (Michelle Willard/AntiochTenn.com)

Grigsby, who retired from Nashville’s CNA Insurance and lives on a pension, was one of 39 applicants chosen out of a pool of 1,000 to receive a Habitat home, according to the nonprofit.

She applied in 2014 and wasn’t sure if she would be selected, she said.

“It’s a wonderful feeling I never thought I’d come this far as a homeowner but now that it’s going up in front of me it’s amazing,” she said in between handing out water in volunteers.

Once the final nails are pounded and Grigsby completes her 250 hours of sweat equity along with financial and homeowner classes, she can finally move into a home of her own.

“I’m amazed. I appreciate everything. I’m grateful. I’m blessed. I’m just happy,” said Grigsby who has no children and plans to will the home to her nephew Justin Pye.

Michelle Willard can be reached at [email protected].