4 things to know about housing, affordability in Metro Nashville

4 things to know about housing, affordability in Metro Nashville

With its accessibility to Nashville’s core and historically lower rent prices in the multi-family market, Madison has long been an affordable option for people living in Davidson County.

But, as prices continue to climb in the Nashville Metro area, Madison is not exempt. Here’s what you should know about housing and affordability in the area:

Occupancy rate is high in northeast Nashville

According to estimates by ApartmentData.com, which tracks rental rates, occupancy and growth trends in the Nashville area, the current occupancy rate in the Madison-Rivergate-Goodlettsville area is 96%, which means empty units are slim to none.

“Some people view that as a sign to raise rents,” said Bruce McClenny, senior director of ApartmentData.com. “Once an area has a really high occupancy and not a lot of new product, rents are likely to go up.”

Rental growth remains strong

While the average rent in the Madison-Rivergate-Goodlettsville area remains low compared to the rest of the Nashville area, rental growth has remained strong despite challenging macro economic conditions.

ApartmentData.com estimates the average rent in the northeast Nashville area is $1,300 per month.

By comparison, the average for Metro Nashville is $1,570 per month.

And renters can expect to pay even more for neighborhoods in the downtown core. Averages include $2,297 for downtown/SoBro/Gulch, $1,847 for Germantown/MetroCenter, $1,838 for Vanderbilt/West End/Sylvan Park and $1,947 for Music Row/12 South/Green Hills, data shows.

“In general terms, (Madison) is one of the most affordable in the area,” McClenny said. “It’s still affordable, but it had one of the highest growth rates in the Metro area. It seems that the Madison area is still growing in price.”

While the rental rate for the entire Nashville area trended downwards towards the end of 2022, the northeast Nashville area continued to see growth in rent.

Opinion:Why is Nashville housing unaffordable? It’s no longer about shelter but profits. | Opinion

A choice:Lebanon planning commission given choice: Approve 270 apartment units or likely lawsuit

Income-controlled affordable housing exists, with more developments in the pipeline

Multiple multi-family developments in the larger Madison area have opened in recent years, resulting in hundreds of units affordable to families making 60 to 80% of the Nashville Area Median Income.

Buffalo Trail Apartments, at 3711 Dickerson Pike, offers 240 housing units. Briarville Apartments, at 600-602 Creative Way, offers 184 units. And The 808 at Skyline Ridge development offers 178 apartments.

More affordable developments are also on the way, including Ewing Heights and Birchstone Village, which were both approved in November for the Metro Development and Housing Agency’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.

Many of these developments have been spearheaded by LDG Developments, a Louisville-headquartered real estate developer with properties across Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Colorado and Texas.

Advocates: Affordable housing is key to healthy workforce

Kay Bowers has been a longtime advocate for affordable housing in the Nashville area. She currently serves on the affordable housing task force of Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) and is a board member for the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency.

According to Bowers, housing affordability is necessary for Nashville to maintain a healthy workforce. As rent and housing prices continue to rise, wages don’t keep up, and workers are forced to move further and further away from their jobs.

“City amenities are connected to jobs with wages that cannot afford market rents,” Bowers said. “You cannot have it all. Those people go home at the end of their shifts, wherever that may be.”

Related story:Madison is poised for transformation. Nashville’s leaders look to the past for direction

Madison has historically been a relatively affordable area in Davidson County. But with rent prices rising there, too, Bowers worries workers could be pushed further out.

“As a city, let’s be intentional,” Bowers said. “If we say we value equity and diversity, let’s show that in our policies and approaches and planning. So that the people we rely on can live.”