Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio who weighed in on the recent announcement of Oracle’s big move to Nashville’s East Bank and a harried Tennessee real estate market.
Leahy: In studio the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. Crom, big news last night. This is from WSMV. Oracle is coming to Nashville, the big software company. Big big software company after the Metro Council approved plans to install the new headquarters in Music City. Tuesday night in a unanimous vote, City Council has approved Oracle’s bid that they presented to the Metro Finance Committee on Monday night, where they promised to bring 8,500 jobs to the city within a decade.
After the Metro Council passive vote, Mayor John Cooper expressed his optimism for the project, calling it, “the largest private investment and largest job creation deal in our history.” Oracle, Crom, looks to install a bridge over the Cumberland River as access to their new facility. The bridge still requires two more rounds of voting by the City Council, but past its initial round of voting on Tuesday night. Crom?
Carmichael: Well, given our city-state of finances, that’s a bridge over troubled waters.
Leahy: Ohhh, that Crom, Crom.
Leahy: That’s very good Crom. People don’t realize. (Laughter) People don’t really people don’t know this, but Crom used to be a standup comedian, and that just shows his capabilities there. It’s still funny. (Laughs)
Carmichael: Thank you. I have a friend of mine who’s in real estate that sends me a column that comes from The Tennessee Ledger. And this is a writer who writes about Tennessee real estate. And he will generally pick a particular house that has sold, and then he’ll build his story around it on what’s going on in Nashville.
Leahy: So he’ll go into one of the neighborhoods and say a house in this neighborhood sold.
Carmichael: A particular house. You’re looking at a particular house here. This one is at 1104 Lenore Street. That house sold. Now it went on the market. This is instructive. It went on the market for $750,000. It sold for $950,000 and $175,000 above the asking price.
Carmichael: This same house in 2018 sold for $194,000. It was gutted and fixed up.
Leahy: Somebody made some money.
Carmichael: But then that house after it was gutted and rebuilt, it then sold for $550,000. So that $550,000 converted into $950,000.
This is $440 a foot, $440 a foot! Right now in Nashville, and these numbers may be slightly off because they’re one month old, but only slightly. There were 2,500 single-family residences on the market at the end of March. There were 200 single-family homes that closed in March. There’s a three-week supply.
Carmichael: Now a seller’s market is 60 days of supply. A three-week supply, if a house goes on the market, it sells almost immediately. A typical Realtor will have nine buyers for every listing. For every listing, then they have nine buyers. And so if you’re listing a house, you say I am scheduling appointments every 15 minutes, (Leahy chuckles) and I’m doing it over these two days. And then I will be accepting offers, and the negotiations will then begin.
Leahy: It’s not just in Nashville, it’s in Williamson County. All around Middle Tennessee.
Carmichael: Yes. All around Middle Tennessee. Now, there are some areas where there’s still lots of land where you can build new developments, but the cost of the dirt in those areas, is what is going up, the cost of buying the land. But it’s really interesting to see what is going on in Nashville with the growth. Now I was down in Naples, Florida.
Leahy: In Florida.
Carmichael: Yes. Naples, Florida, is very similar. It used to be that you drive down a highway called 41, which is a six-lane wide highway. And then if you went inland on one Street, it was four lanes. Now if you go inland one street it was four lanes. Now you go inland four or five streets before you get to two-lane highways.
So Naples is growing East. It’s also growing North, but it’s growing East inland at an incredible rate. And so when you have that and in Nashville, the difference is in Naples, they’re able to build the infrastructure. They’re able to widen the roads because as they’re moving inland these are two-lane roads and the development hasn’t happened yet. Nashville is already developed. Now Oracle I think, is locating on the East Bank.
Leahy: I think that’s correct. Of the Cumberland Yes.
Carmichael: And so they’re going to build the bridge.
Leahy: The bridge over troubled waters. (Laughter)
Carmichael: But what this is going to do to East Nashville…
Leahy: Boom. And East Nashville has been re gentrifying over the last five or six years. But this will even accelerate that pace.
Leahy: Now the story at WSMV, Oracle promised to bring wait for it…8,500 jobs to the city within a decade. It’s a big company. What’s that going to do to the real estate market in Middle Tennessee?
Carmichael: Well, the real estate market in Tennessee is going to stay red hot until you get the supply of houses back up to 90 days. This means there will have to be nine to 10 single-family homes on the market available to buy. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon because building 3,000 homes a month is a lot of homes to be built. And all that does is keep you at the three-week supply. So you’ve got to get up to where you’re building 5,000 homes a month. I’ve been here since 1967 and I’ve never seen anything like that.
Leahy: Nothing like this.
Carmichael: Nothing like this.
Leahy: Here’s the other part about this, which is interesting. There are two elements to talk about. First, the underlying economics of migration within the United States. I see that trend continuing away from high tax blue states to really the three leading no state income tax states in the country. Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.
Carmichael: Private schools are getting 15 to 20 inquiries a week from just people moving here from California. That’s just from one state. There are all kinds of issues that are being created because it takes a while to plan and build a new school or even to do a major expansion of an existing school. And most private schools don’t want to have more than 100 or maybe 120 per class.
Leahy: It’s hard to make them fit together.
Carmichael: The private schools want to keep themselves small enough so that they are meeting the needs of each child which is my big beef with the government-run schools because there’s no reason that a government-run school ought to have 1,500 or 2,000 students in high school. There’s no reason for that. It’s just that way because that’s how the system likes it.
Leahy: The other issue I want to chat with you about that comes along with this huge growth, the huge increase in home prices and real estate prices in Middle Tennessee is for people who have lived in Tennessee all their lives and who perhaps are not homeowners, they’re being priced out of the market.
Carmichael: Yes. And that’s what I’m saying. That’s one of the examples. There are three or four. There are three or four pressure points that are going on. One is the demand for private school education exploding. And the number of private schools is not. And so there’s a huge imbalance there than what you just brought up.
If you don’t own a home, and if you don’t have $50,000 in cash, maybe even $100,000 in cash to put down on a house because they’re still requiring 20 percent down on most houses unless it’s an FHA-type thing. And even those, it’s almost impossible to get the mortgage if you don’t make a substantial down payment.
Leahy: And this does lead to, I think, resentment towards newcomers who have more cash because they live in states where they can sell their houses for very high prices. They come here and even with this increase, they’re able to pocket some money from the sale of the house in California.
Carmichael: If it was a really expensive house in California. But the trick is selling expensive houses in California now is finding buyers who buy an expensive house in California because California is losing a congressional seat.
Leahy: I’m so sad about that too by the way.
Carmichael: It’s the first time. It’s the first time, I think ever.
Leahy: I think you’re right.
Carmichael: It’s shrinking.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to talk about the growth in his county and being accessible to the community and new California conservative refugees.
Leahy: In studio with us, our good friend, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Andy, Maury County is experiencing huge growth. This is good. And this is problematic as well.
Leahy: In the past month, I guess since you were here last, here’s what I’m noticing. I’m noticing, at least in Nashville and in Williamson County, maybe it’s the good weather, but I’m noticing that real estate houses are going very fast A. And B, I’m hearing from Realtors that the asking price is not what the closing cost is. That people are bidding these things up by five to 10 percent. At least that’s what I’m hearing in Nashville and in Williamson County. And the reason is California money. That’s what I’m hearing. What are you seeing in terms of growth in Maury County?
Ogles: Yeah. I mean, we’re growing. So when you think about Maury County, we have Spring Hill, Colombia, Culleoka, and Mount Pleasant. Those are kind of your larger areas.
Leahy: I am almost one of your constituents. Our mailing address is in Thompson Station. I live in the city of Spring Hill. And as you know, I think about a third of the city of Spring Hill is in Maury County and about two-thirds of it. I don’t know the exact numbers in Williamson County. So I’m just a couple of miles away from Maury County. Spring Hill is, in essence, sort of an extension of the Nashville suburbs.
Ogles: That’s right. And when you think about Maury County, you think about the growth. The Maury County side of Spring Hill in the last couple of years has actually been the part of Spring Hill that’s growing the fastest.
Leahy: And why is that?
Ogles: Well, there’s a couple of reasons. One is it’s a little bit cheaper to build a home in Maury County than it is Williamson County.
Leahy: Why is it cheaper to build a home in Maury County than Williamson County?
Ogles: So Williamson County has some impact fees that a builder has to pay that immediately is layered on top of the price of the home. So since the building a Maury County, for that reason alone, it’s a little bit cheaper. And then just supply of land. The Williamson County side grew first. You have greater density up there. Now the Maury County side of Spring Hill is growing. But that being said, now what you’re seeing is that the northside of the county is growing. The midsection of the county is growing.
Leahy: That midsection would be around Columbia.
Ogles: Columbia, the downtown area. But then also out in the country where I live the southern area. So there’s a road called Morrow Lane.
Leahy: I know it well, it’s just south of Columbia.
Ogles: That’s right. And there’s about I don’t know, seven or eight lots there. And all of those houses that are going up are in the 425 to 450 range, and those houses are selling before they’re even done.
Leahy: So it’s a hot real estate market there.
Ogles: It’s booming. And then I have a friend that was looking at a house there in Columbia and been on the market for a day, and they were scheduled to go see the house today and it’s already sold.
Leahy: I’ve heard that.
Ogles: With multiple offers.
Leahy: I’ve heard that story so many times here from friends that are looking for houses. And I do get a bit of how shall we say, I wish that California money would stay in California.
Ogles: Yeah right. Well, I will say that we’re seeing the same thing in Maury County that Williamson and Nashville are seeing folks from New Jersey, New York, California, Wisconsin, and a little bit out of Washington.
Leahy: Washington State.
Ogles: Yeah, but they’re refugees that they’re conservative refugees that are leaving the state for lack of a better term because they felt persecuted. But I’ve been rather outspoken. And so a lot of these folks will seek me out and say, hey, we’re California. I just want to say thank you or whatever, and I just feel like, okay, pause. Wait a minute. You left for a reason. Please don’t Californicate Maury County, Tennessee.
Leahy: Now how do they respond when you say please don’t Californicate Maury County?
Ogles: You can kind of self-deprecate, kind of make light of a situation, but they acknowledge the truth that yes, we know we left. Don’t hate us because we’re from California. Don’t hate us because we’re from New Jersey. We’re here because we agree with you. We agree with Tennessee.
Leahy: Well, now let me follow up with that. In theory they agree?
Ogles: They agree.
Leahy: Okay. Now Let’s get down to it is the next thing they say. Why don’t you have X, Y, or Z?
Ogles: Well back home this is how we do it. Well you left back home and you are in Tennessee now and it’s cheaper to live here because we don’t do it that way.
Leahy: Do you get a lot of that?
Ogles: Again, I think most people recognize that, especially like California. Yes, they have X, Y, and Z, but it’s not sustainable. It’s not working. You can’t continue to rob the taxpayer to fund these rainbow and unicorn programs and not realize that at some point you just run out of money. And that’s what our federal government has been doing.
Leahy: In the course of your typical week in Maury County, how many people do you run into that are new residents of Maury County?
Ogles: It’s a lot. I mean, it’s daily.
Leahy: Daily. Every day.
Ogles: I try it in the morning. I don’t get to do this every day, just kind of full disclosure. But I like to spend whether it’s a little bit of time in the morning or kind of during lunch, a little time on the square, just sitting outside. I’ll be on my phone, answering emails. But one, it’s just good to get some fresh air.
Leahy: So hold on. You are the mayor of Maury County. And so the way you hold sort of public hours, I suppose you could say is you sit on the square?
Ogles: Well, my office is on the square.
Leahy: It’s inside the big building, the inside the square.
Ogles: But I like to be accessible. So it’s not free time so much because I’m responding to emails or I’m on the phone, but I’m there.
Leahy: Is there, like, the mayor’s bench?
Ogles: (Chuckles) No.
Leahy: Where do you sit? How do people know that you’re the mayor of Maury County?
Ogles: Well, the coffee shop there is right next to my office. So I’ll sit out there on their bench.
Leahy: So you sit on the bench outside of the coffee shop?
Ogles: That’s right. Or outside of Puckett’s.
Leahy: Okay, so there you are in your smiling and answering emails, doing work. Do people come up and say, hey, mayor, what are you doing about X, Y, or Z?
Ogles: No. I mean, in Maury County, we’ve got a great County Commission. They’re not always going to agree with one another, but fiscally conservative trying to manage this growth without raising taxes. And we try to be proactive. So we’ve invested in things like our emergency services because, again, we’re growing so fast.
I would think, by and large, that most individuals in Maury County, like where we are and where we’re headed, with the exception of maybe some of the transplants that don’t quite get that you’re not going to have recycling services out in the rural part of the county. It’s just not feasible to do that. We do, however, have recycling centers that you can take it yourself, but we’re not going to come to pick it up.
Leahy: But how do people know that there’s the mayor hanging out on the bench by the coffee shop in the square?
Ogles: Well, because of The Tennessee Star. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: But this is radio right? Do you put a sign the mayor is in? (Chuckles)
Ogles: No, not at all. Actually, it’s funny when you’re out there, it’s not my most productive time because I end up talking to people kind of back to back, but it’s good. That’s the part of the job that I love. I spent a lot of my time chained to a desk, answering emails on the phone, being an advocate for Maury County with the legislature with the governor’s office. So it’s nice to be out in the public and actually just have a conversation.
Leahy: So when was the last time you were out there on the bench by the coffee shop on the square?
Ogles: Yesterday morning.
Leahy: Describe one of the people that came up to you.
Ogles: One of my fun interactions was just an older gentleman, not someone you would assume was maybe in tune with what was going on was somewhat disheveled.
Leahy: Did he recognize you?
Ogles: He sat down and just said, I appreciate all you’re doing.
Leahy: That was it.
Ogles: He was just plain and as a matter of fact about it. And didn’t need anything, didn’t want anything.
Leahy: Oh, don’t you love those kinds of conversations? But you’re actually very good at dealing with people that are asking questions or want something. It’s different. Like doing a radio show, you just get to talk, and you don’t have to do anything. You just get to talk. You actually have to do stuff.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.