As the world emerges slowly from the COVID-19 pandemic, the chaos caused by the upheaval continue to dissipate. The real estate market was affected directly and indirectly by the pandemic.
Stories began circulating of homes receiving multiple offers either prior to, or immediately after being listed, as people contemplated changing where they lived and worked, while others looked to move to specific areas.
Indirectly, the vast increase in the cost of construction materials, magnified by the pandemic, caused people considering new home construction to rethink and perhaps focus on existing structures.
In Huron, which continues to see an uptick in its workforce numbers as it comes out of the COVID fog, new construction continued to take place, much of it in the Southtown Development.
Greater Huron Development Corporation (GHDC) owns more than 60 lots in the portion of Southtown that is zoned for residential use — basically the land north of 26th Street, between Idaho and Frank Avenues, not including the already developed property along 21st Street.
“This past year the City of Huron has completed the streets that were platted in the development,” said Ted Haeder, the executive director for GHDC, “as well as water and sewer.”
New streets include 22nd Street, which connects Idaho to Frank on the north end of the development, along with Firehouse Lane, a circular drive on the south side of 22nd Street, and two court/cul-de-sacs — Fox Run and Elk Run — in the southern part of Southtown.
It is, by far, the highest concentration of platted and developed residential lots within the city limits.
Residential lots vary in price from $20,000 to $40,000, based on lot size and, to follow the old real estate adage: “Location, location, location.” Lot prices include assessments for water, sewer, curb and gutter.
“The roads are in, sewer and water is in and fiber-optic lines for internet and telephone connections are going in,” Haeder said. The roads, sewer and water installations were financed through a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district by the City of Huron and Greater Huron Development. The funds to repay the work will come from the increased property taxes when lots are sold and houses are constructed.
GHDC is offering a home buyer incentive program, in an effort to expand housing for Huron’s workforce.
Available only in the Southtown Development, new home buyers may be eligible for up to $12,000 in down payment assistance, coupled with interest-free financing for lot purchases. The program is designed to help make home ownership more easily within reach of many low and moderate-income residents.
In addition, all of the lots in Southtown are eligible for a Property Tax Abatement Program that reduces property taxes by 50% over the first four years of home ownership. Some incentives are also available to housing developers.
GHDC does a realtor referral program with local realtors as well, and will handle closing costs for lot purchases, Haeder said.
Wheatgrass Village, a three-story, 69-unit apartment building and two six-unit town homes on 10 acres was the residential centerpiece of the new development and while an expansion of the existing site has been mentioned, no work has begun on the project, which was originally slated to mirror the existing structures.
Residential home construction, however, has continued, with a number of primarily twin homes along 26th Street. Some were nearly completed three years ago and Haeder said that he understands that all of the units are rented at this time. A new home, on 26th Street, is currently under construction.
Haeder noted that while GHDC does have lots for sale, they are solely selling the lots. “There are many very good contractors in Huron to build a home,” he said. “Although we have learned that most of the contractors are very busy right now. That’s a good problem to have.
While residential construction has continued, commercial development in Southtown has stalled. In the past two years, the only new construction in the area is the new Iverson Auto Sales and service building.
GHDC has one lot that is approximately 8.5 acres, directly east of Iverson Auto’s main building, across Kansas Ave. There are also five lots, of between a half-acre and an acres-and-a-half, located in the Kansas Ave., Court adjacent to Huron Title Company and ELO Prof LLC accounting office building. “I am very optimistic on the construction we have seen in Southtown,” Haeder said.
“We get one or two calls per week inquiring about lots, which are likely from people doing research, seeing what’s available and comparing prices. I expect, that over the next 15-20 years, most of the Southtown residential development will fill in.”
GHD also has residential lots near Broadland Creek and two homes in that development are also under construction.
Additional GHDC commercial property is in the West Industrial Park, in the North Industrial park and in the soon to be developed East industrial Park, which will border the new Northwestern Energy Gas Turbine plant east of Custer Ave and along Highway 14.
There are other residential lots sprinkled throughout Huron and just outside its city limits, including considerable space west of Highway 37 and south of 24th Street, where there is also new home construction under way. Much of that property has recently been platted and is ready for development.
For more information on residential or commercial property for sale in the Huron area, contact any of the local realtors, or GHDC, at 605-352-0363.