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Real Estate Forum

Written By: Chris Eversole

Most buyers interested in a new home are willing to pay a premium for it, said Matt Thomas, co-owner of Thomas Group Realty.

That premium can be as much at $150,000 on a large home, he noted at the event, organized by Coldwell Banker Commercial M.M. Parrish Realtors and held at the Gainesville Woman’s Club.

Many buyers of existing homes are seeking larger lot sizes, said Thomas.

Lots for new homes are shrinking, said Rory P. Causseaux, CEO of the consulting group CHW.

Meeting regulations on infrastructure such as stormwater drainage and tree mitigation mean that developing a small lot – less than one-eighth acre – costs as much as developing a half-acre lot did in the past, he explained.

“The one-acre lot is a thing of the past,” said Causseaux.

An pipeline of lots are available as Oakmont develops, and communities such as the Town of Tioga and Arbor Greens expand.

However, no large parcels are available for major new communities within the county’s urban services line. As a result, county government should consider expanding the Urban Cluster Line – a line drawn to deter urban sprawl, he said.

Causseaux said he was optimistic about development in the core of Gainesville, and he noted that Innovation Square has all the infrastructure in place for development.

“It’s primed and ready to go,” he stated. “People are queued up and ready to fill the pent-up demand.”

Interim City Manager Anthony Lyons pledged to improve the permitting process, as well as to continue on the path to make city government more citizen-centered in general – implementing recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee on Economic Competitiveness.

“This is a very different way for government to operate,” said Lyons.

The city is launching a Web app that will inform people seeking to open a business of all the permits they need – including agencies in other city agencies, he noted.

“No other city in the world is doing as much to gain a competitive edge,” he said.

City Commissioner Craig Carter noted that most employees welcome the new approach.

“It’s great to see smiles instead of scowls when people come through the door,” said Carter.

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