Real Estate News

Home construction in Bluffton on the rise, officials say

The town of Bluffton's housing market seems to be revving again.

A project that would bring more than 190 new homes to the Cypress Ridge subdivision could start soon and would be the single largest addition to the town's housing stock in 2014.

And that's just one of several projects submitted to the town in the past year.

Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association executive director Ashley Feaster said the number of building permits issued in 2014 increased over last year, continuing a steady rise after new construction all but ceased during the Great Recession of 2007 and 2008.

Many of the permits were issued for Palmetto Bluff, but other gated communities, such as Hampton Lake, Colleton River Plantation and Sun City, also have seen growth, Feaster said.

The rebounding economy is one reason for the growth, but so is the town's effort to improve Old Town Bluffton and create amenities that appeal to a wide range of homebuyers, according to Feaster.

"Bluffton has put itself on the map, so to speak," she said. "There's been a lot of nice development. It's moving in a good direction."

Building permits issued for single-family homes jumped from 400 permits in 2013 to 552 in 2014, according to data from the town of Bluffton. The 2014 totals were almost 400 more than the town issued in 2009 at the height of the recession, and more than the town issued in 2009 and 2010 combined.

The town offers planned developments with homes already built, as well as empty lots that invite custom designs, she added.

Palmetto Bluff is the largest of the developments in Bluffton offering the custom design option. It enters 2015 coming off its best year since 2006, with almost $175 million in home projects either under construction or in the design process, broker-in-charge Bryan Byrne said.

The development south of the May River submitted six expansion projects for review by town staff in 2014. The projects will open up hundreds of new lots in the development, necessary to keep ahead of the accelerating land sales and home construction, executive director Don Killoren said.

In 2009, the development's worst year, only 33 homes were built or reviewed. This year, they've done close to 200 homes, Byrne said.

Palmetto Bluff hopes to continue their recent growth by improving amenities in the development for property owners and completing the new Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Killoren said. The new Moreland Village will also add a second commercial and retail center, similar to the existing Wilson Village at the heart of Palmetto Bluff.

"It's been an exponential rise from the bottom," Byrne said. "We're on pace for another good year next year."

The Cypress Ridge expansion was reviewed Tuesday by the town's Development Review Committee, which has examined plans for all of the large-scale housing expansions around Bluffton. Committee members had minor concerns about affected trees in the development, located south of Sun City, but few changes need to be made before final approval is granted.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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