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Updated: October 28, 2019 Town Profile: Southington

In dormant homebuilding environment, Southington is a hotspot

Photo | Contributed A Southington home built by Lovley Development Inc.

It might be its central location, or cheaper cost of land, but the town of Southington has quietly been a magnet for single-family home development in Connecticut.

From 2015 to 2018, Southington issued 339 single-family home construction permits, more than any other city or town except Greenwich, which approved 553 permits during that time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“We’re busy, I’ve got two new customers I’m meeting this week,” said Mark Lovely, president of Lovley Development Inc., a homebuilder based in the Plantsville section of Southington who has several residential developments underway or planned in town.

Lovely said he’s not surprised Southington leads the state in single-family home construction because the town of nearly 44,000 residents didn’t see as much of a slowdown in demand as the rest of Connecticut, following the Great Recession.

The housing bubble burst and subsequent economic downturn from 2008 to 2010 wreaked havoc on the state’s home-construction industry. Prior to 2008, Connecticut averaged between 9,000 and 10,000 new home permits annually; the new norm has been 2,000 to 4,000 annual permits.

Southington has averaged about 85 new permits in each of the last four years.

Town Planner Rob Phillips, whose been in his current job for six years, said Southington hasn’t actively pursued single-family home development but has been working to attract businesses and fill empty storefronts and commercial buildings.

High residential demand might be a result of restaurants and other businesses opening in town, Phillips said.

But Lovely said driving factors are likely the town’s central location in the state and more affordable property values compared to its neighbors.

Southington is about 20 miles from Hartford and 30 miles from New Haven. Lovely said he has had more than one homebuyer family in which one spouse worked in Hartford, and the other in New Haven.

“It’s so centrally located in the middle of the state, you can get anywhere from there,” Lovely said.

Added to that, land and property values are significantly cheaper in Southington than nearby Avon and Farmington. Homebuyers in Southington usually pay between $20,000 and $80,000 less than they would have in Avon or Farmington, Lovely said.

And the houses Lovely has been building in town are selling quickly, he said.

All but six dwellings in a 94-home development Lovely built on the North Ridge golf course have been sold, he said. The first of those houses, which range in price from $500,000 to $1 million, was purchased in 2015.

Meantime, 38 people as of mid-October were vying to buy one of 15 planned ranch houses off South End Road. Lovely said the homes, which will break ground next month and start at about $359,000, will be part of a 55-and-older community.

In all, Lovely has built more than 800 houses in town, including about 98 between 2015 and 2018.

“[It’s] mostly families moving in,” Lovely said. “A lot of young professionals buying their first home.”

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