Cleburne builders cranked out about 140 to 160 new houses a year before the 2008 economic crash, but last year, the city logged just 19 new stick-built and modular/manufactured homes. That was down from 21 in 2011 and 22 in 2010, according to Jerry Cash, Cleburne’s economic development director.
Nationwide, however, an estimated 780,000 housing units were started in 2012. That was up 28 percent from 2011, according to commerce department figures. A glance at headlines around Texas shows that the state is part of the national uptick: in Houston, 2012 building starts were up 27 percent over 2011; a 15-acre Plano development is re-starting construction after being halted by the recession; and a 105-unit subdivision is going up northeast of Austin in Hutto.
The inventory of houses for sale has been shrinking for six months, according to a recent USA Today report, with the inventory of previously occupied houses at an 11-year low. Ultra-low mortgage rates and steady job gains have fueled more demand for houses and apartments. More people are moving out into their own homes after doubling up with friends and relatives in the recession.
Encouraged by rising demand and low inventories, builders in 2012 broke ground on the most new houses and apartments in four years. Those signs of life are now shooting up on sites in and around Cleburne.
Workers are tying steel and pouring concrete streets in a Cleburne project that was mothballed when the recession hit.
In its first phase, the project promises to put 20 townhouse units on approximately three acres near Chili’s at the intersection of Wedgwood Drive and Hyde Park Boulevard.
The first phase will occupy about three acres of the approximately six-acre site, builder Mark Rhodes said.
“They’ll be four and six units,” with fenced yards, one-car garages and rent for approximately $1,050 to $1,200 monthly, he said. “It’s going to be gated.”