Community leaders in Rome have been concerned about the housing inventory in Rome for many months.

Mayor Craig McDaniel, who is also a Realtor, wants the City Commission to hold a mini-housing summit in conjunction with its annual retreat within the next two months.

Local real estate agents successfully completed the sale of more than 1,200 residences last year, a 2.2% increase from 2019. The relatively flat increase in the number of units sold reflects a lack of inventory, he said.

“You don’t have developers developing right now,” McDaniel said.

The data shows the median sale price increased 10% from $150,000 in 2019 to $165,000 in 2020.

The 10% increase in the median sales figure doesn’t really indicate the extent to which construction costs have pushed up the cost for building a new home, he said.

The total sales volume, which exceeded $249.7 million, was up 15% from the previous year and is closer to reflecting the cost of the new construction.

The goal should be for the city and county to incentivize residential construction developers, he said.

The cost of infrastructure for new subdivisions, water, sewer, roads and the like, is something that should be offset, he said, local governments can find the right mechanism.

Using an example of a developer finding 25 acres of land on which they could build 50 homes, McDaniel suggested that developer could get an infrastructure rebate once 25 homes are built. The mechanism for making that rebate is the focus for discussion.

“Its very difficult to do that. It’s hard to take it out of tax coffers and it’s difficult to take it out of water and sewer money,” McDaniel said. “But it’s something that we’re going to have to do if we want residential development.”

“We know that right now our biggest weakness in economic development is housing,” McDaniel said. “I think you’ve got to find a way to entice builders to build here.”

Some work is already taking place at the Battle Farm and Emerald Oaks subdivisions in Armuchee and the Timber Ridge subdivision on Wayside Road. In the city, 10 new townhomes are also under construction East Third Street right next to the Rome News-Tribune, with more likely to come.

The Rome-Floyd Planning Commission will hear a rezoning request next month from Jay Barksdale’s JFB Development for 1.11 acres on East Third Street for 18 more new townhomes.

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