Fewer New Subdivisions Being Developed in Greenville County

County: Fewer new subdivisions being developed

May 23, 2008

By Angelia Davis – Greenville News

The departure of several national homebuilders from the Upstate has Greenville experiencing its lowest number of preliminary subdivision lots in years, a county planning director said.

Only 272 lots were proposed during the first quarter this year, compared with 2,147 proposed during the same period of 2007, according to the Greenville County Planning Commission.

“I think what’s happening is there’s a pretty good inventory of lots available,” said John Owings, the county’s manager of current planning. “We’ve had national builders stop developing in Greenville. They had a lot of subdivisions that were in the development stage. They put them (lots) on the market to let local developers buy them up.”

Because local builders don’t move at the pace of national builders, the addition of lots in the market is slowing the demand for new subdivision plats, he said.

At one point there were at least 10 national homebuilders developing in the Greenville area. Five either left or announced they were leaving in 2007, Owings said, but most didn’t cease operations until the fourth quarter.

They left about 20 subdivisions in various stages of development. Local builders and developers generally find it less expensive to buy lots left in subdivisions and ready to build on than to start a new one from scratch, Owings said.

He predicts the volume of preliminary lots will pick up again rather quickly because of the county’s growing population. He said recent expansion announcements from companies such as BMW, Fluor, and GE are bringing even more people to Greenville.

At the same time, in the past quarter, the planning staff has seen more rezoning requests for multi-family projects than it has in more than a year.

The upswing in multi-family construction generally precedes an upswing in single-family housing, Owings said.

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