From Wards Road to the suburbs, contractors are busy putting up new apartments, townhouses, and single family homes
September 19, 2012 Tim Saunders WDBJ
LYNCHBURG, Va.—As summer turns to fall and temperatures start to cool, construction in Lynchburg is heating up.
“I think the market remains a little tough, but I think that we’re starting to see it come back,” said Vince Phelps, a Lynchburg-area developer.
From Wards Road to the suburbs, contractors are busy putting up new apartments, townhouses, and single family homes.
“The folks that actually have some means and have some money are finally willing to start spending that money again,” said Phelps, who owns a business that designs custom homes.
Phelps currently has 12 houses under construction, the most since his company started five years ago.
“We really have a lot of people relocating to Central Virginia, and not all for just one reason,” Phelps said.
The region’s healthy employment, along with explosive growth at Liberty University, are bringing new faces to the area.
Many of those people are looking for newly built properties, which haven’t been widely available since the recession started.
“For the last four years, we’ve seen a shortage of new construction,” said Josh Ballengee, an associate broker for Century 21 All Service.
Ballengee’s firm started a “New Homes Division” last year to capitalize on the emerging demand.
“Right now new construction is about the same price as existing homes, so a lot of people are taking advantage of that with the low interest rates,” Ballengee said.
The construction boom is allowing developers to finish projects that were started before the recession. It’s also creating a lot of jobs.
“We’re looking to hire aggressively as we move through the fall,” said Phelps.
The positive trend is something Realtors expect to continue.
“I think as long as the interest rates hold steady, we’ll continue to see an improvement in the market,” said Ballengee. “I think we’ll see a lot of construction in Lynchburg in the next year or two.”
New homes aren’t the only thing under construction in Lynchburg.
Commercial buildings are going up in the Cornerstone development, and a new upscale shopping center is expected to break ground soon at the corner of Old Forest Road and Lakeside Drive.