Despite soaring construction costs and pandemic-related challenges, new home construction in Livingston County — which dipped in the first year of the pandemic — is growing again, according to data from the Livingston County Building Department.
Between January and June, the county building department issued 361 permits for new single-family dwellings, up from 341 for the same time period last year. In 2021, the county issued 566 permits for new single-family homes, up from 549 in 2020, the year the pandemic began, and 565 in 2019.
Thousands of homes are either under construction or proposed across the county, and interest is growing in new apartment buildings, officials said.
Livingston County Association of Realtors board President James Dewling said the county’s current housing stock isn’t keeping up with demand.
“Livingston County is a very desirable place to live, and the demand for housing, the multiple offers situation, you are seeing across the board,” Dewling said.
He said new construction — whether it be new subdivisions of single-family homes, condos or apartment complexes — would help stabilize the local residential real estate market.
“We’re way behind on new construction,” he said. “I think there are many builders, even national builders who see there is demand in Livingston County.”
Livingston County Building Official Jim Rowell said new residential construction has clearly recovered from the 2020 slump, but challenges remain for people wanting a single-family home built.
Smaller homebuilders are struggling, Rowell said, “Because they are having trouble getting tradespeople, like framing contractors, because the big guys have them tied up,” he said.
Dewling said demand for ranch homes is prominent across age groups.
He said the county benefits from diverse housing stock and homebuyers are looking for housing across the entire county.
“The interesting thing about Livingston County is all the property types they offer. There are equestrian properties, farms, lake houses, back in the woods on 10 acres,” he said. “We have the city of Brighton, the city of Howell. It’s walkable to coffeeshops. We have properties that abut the Huron River. Demand seems to be everywhere because there is such diverse housing stock.”
Green Oak Township Planning and Zoning Administrator Debra McKenzie said she has seen a shift to residential projects that offer multiple housing types. Township officials are currently reviewing one proposal that could bring more than 500 units to the township.
McKenzie said construction of new homes in existing subdivisions in the township “is active and has been steady, but seems to be slowing down.”
Several homes were under construction in the new Marion Oaks subdivision off D-19/Pinckney Road near Howell in Marion Township.
Hartland-based Capital Custom Homes commenced construction in 2019 on what is approved to be 460 single-family homes and attached condos on the former site of the Marion Oaks Golf Course.
Rowell said there has been been an increase in the development of new apartment units.
After no permits for new apartment units were issued in 2019 and 2020, the county issued 66 last year. Through June of this year, 62 permits have been issued.
“I think the builders find they can’t build affordable homes, so they’ve shifted to apartment buildings,” Rowell said.
Some large residential developments have broken ground and others will be soon.
Here are nearly a dozen of the largest active and proposed construction projects across the county, including sizable apartment projects:
More than 500 units proposed in Green Oak
Representatives of Shelby Township-based Lombardo Homes recently revived plans for a 579-unit residential development — with 195 single-family homes and 384 townhome and ranch-style apartments.
Green Oak Township Planning Commission members voted earlier this month in favor of the development, which is proposed on the north and south sides of Winans Lake Road off U.S. 23 in the township. The township board is expected to review plans at a future board meeting.
The proposed homes and apartments are part of a larger plan to bring residential, commercial and recreational construction to property around the Legacy Center Sports Complex.
Encore Village underway in Brighton Twp.
Troy-based Fairview Companies is constructing the first phase of a 542-unit development geared for seniors, Encore Village, off Grand River Avenue around Pickerel Lake and part of Woodruff Lake in Brighton Township.
Encore Village will feature ranch-style apartments and a three-story, 162-unit assisted living and memory care center.
Mix of housing proposed on Mason Road
A group of real estate developers is pursuing a plan that could bring 533 new residences to the township, including a proposed 288 apartment units, to Howell Township.
Pending final approvals, the proposed homes would be constructed near the northwest corner of Mason and Burkhart roads.
Bruce Michael, a partner of Rochester Hills-based investment group Mason and Burkhart LLC, said in June they will likely start with some single-family homes — they have proposed a total of 175 — and build some apartments next.
The proposal also includes a 90-unit independent living facility for seniors.
Michael said they are targeting older individuals who are still active and want low-maintenance living, but the homes will not be age restricted.
Homes, commercial proposed in Hartland
East Lansing-based Mayberry Homes has proposed 417 residential units, which could be a mix of single-family homes, attached condominiums, apartments and duplexes in Hartland Township.
Newberry Place, which would also feature commercial properties, is proposed on the north and south sides of M-59 west of Pleasant Valley and Fenton roads.
Luxury apartment on the Mill Pond approved
Lansing-based DTN Management is gearing up to construct a four-story 235-unit luxury apartment complex on the Mill Pond in Brighton.
Brighton City Council members approved the project, Vista at Uptown, in May. The complex will be on North Second Street, between the road and Mill Pond, south of Advance Street.
DTN representative John Woods said in May that work on the foundation is expected to start this fall. Renters are expected to move in by spring of 2024.
Apartments OK’d in Oceola Twp.
Earlier this year, Oceola Township officials approved Highland Knolls and Bethel Green at Highland Knolls, a 226-unit development, which includes a three-story 127-unit apartment complex and ranch-style apartments.
The residences will be built on the northside of M-59/Highland Road west of Latson Road.
Representatives with BRIDA, LLC, the investment group developing the property, told township officials they are targeting seniors for tenants.
Affordable options to increase in Howell Twp.
Affordable options will increase by 220 apartment units on land on the west side of Oak Grove Road immediately north of the Crossroads Town Center shopping complex in Howell Township.
Union Development Holdings, LLC, an investment group associated with Indianapolis-based affordable housing development firm The Annex Group, was awarded low-income housing tax credits through the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority to build the complex, which is called Union at Oak Grove.
The apartments will be available to individuals and families earning wages 60% or below the area median income and are expected to rent from around $940 to $1,200 per month.
Apartments proposed in Genoa Twp.
One of the most recent proposals is for 204 apartments in 12 buildings at the southeast corner of Grand River Avenue and Dorr Road in Genoa Township.
Farmington Hills-based M. Shapiro Real Estate Group proposed The Legacy Apartment Homes as “an exclusive neighborhood community targeting demographics of multiple ages,” according to township documents.
Genoa Township Planning Commission members voted to table the proposal earlier this week to continue reviewing plans at a future meeting.
Township community development director Kelly VanMarter said commissioners asked the firm to tweak plans and push it further away from Dorr Road and Grand River Avenue. Township planners also requested an update to a traffic study to account for traffic that would be generated from Trinity Health’s proposed expansion of the St. Joseph Mercy Brighton Health Center into a full-service hospital.
Apartments approved in Hartland Twp.
Earlier this year, Hartland Township officials approval final plans for a 148-unit Redwood Living apartment complex.
The apartments will be constructed on about 27 acres of the Hartland Glen Golf Course off M-59 and west of Pleasant Valley Road.
Settlement determined fate of shuttered school
A lawsuit settlement determined the fate of the former Lindbom Elementary School property in downtown Brighton.
In August 2021, Brighton City Council voted to deny West Village, a proposed 140 townhome development at 1010 State St.
Bingham Farms-based development firm S.R. Jacobson Development Corp. and the property owner jointly sued the city.
In May, city officials announced they reached an agreement for a modified plan, which reduced the number of units to 123 and reduced the height of the buildings from three stories to two.
Hilton Cove underway in Brighton Twp.
Farmington Hills-based investment group Grand River Hilton, LLC has began installing infrastructure for a 134-unit condominium complex north of Interstate 96.
Brighton Township officials approved a total of 66 two-unit condos for the site as well as two stand alone units off Hilton Road about a quarter-mile from Grand River Avenue in the township.
“We believe Brighton is prime for a project like this,” Mark Kassab, a partner in the investment group, told Livingston Daily in October. “The demand for for-sale products is unprecedented.”
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Eberbach at email@example.com.