Williamson County Association of Realtors
By Melissa Clough, President of the Williamson County Association of Realtors
You may have heard that Franklin Tomorrow and the Williamson County Association of Realtors® recently released results of a local telephone survey. Through a grant funded by the National Association of Realtors®, a national public opinion research firm contacted approximately 400 Franklin residents. It should come as no surprise to the thousands of people who live, work and play here that residents are bullish on Franklin. Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about the quality of life as well as the operation of the city, pace of growth and development, housing costs, and other hot topics. The general enthusiasm from the poll left this realtor focusing on a few highs and lows.
Franklin residents are overwhelmingly positive about their city. Eighty-three percent rate the the city government job performance as excellent (18 percent) or good (65 percent). However, the general positive mood leaves residents with varied priorities that lack intensity. The pollster highlighted the fact that in a city with no glaring deficiencies, residents place their highest priorities for local government on issues and goals that have the most immediate impact on their personal livelihood and daily lives: creating a business friendly environment that attracts jobs; improving transportation infrastructure (such as roads and bridges) and holding the line on city taxes and fees.
A major goal of the poll was to explore the results of Franklin Tomorrow’s Visioning Process with a major emphasis on growth and development within the City of Franklin. The general consensus was that development is happening at about the right pace. Residents see both residential (60percent) and business (72 percent) development happening at about the right pace. Preserving city neighborhoods and bringing more businesses to the area top list of future goals. Considering how content residents are with the status quo, it is not surprising that their top future goal is to preserve the look and feel of city neighborhoods and protect historic buildings. I think many of us would agree that quaint downtown Franklin is a major component of our community identity and we would like to see its integrity maintained as our city grows.
As a Realtor, a particular point drew my attention, housing. The results of the poll found that some believe that housing costs are too high for many. While the majority (53 percent) of residents say that the cost of housing in Franklin is about right, a significant minority (43 percent) characterizes costs as “too high.” Women, non-college graduates and renters were typically more likely to view costs as too high. Statistics prove that home ownership is more expensive within the City than elsewhere. The median sales price in October was $405,600 in Franklin, compared to $369,000 in Williamson County and $155,000 in Davidson County.
Thirty-five percent of respondents to the survey declared improved housing options as very important. Two citizens summed up their housing stock concerns: “Encourage a more diverse mix of housing options for Franklin's workforce, seniors and those with special needs.” Another stated the quality of life “is good for those who can afford it. It is one of the richest counties in Tennessee. There is still a lot of inconsistency. There is not enough low income housing, and public services to help those who really need them. “
An overwhelming majority of those polled were pleased with their quality of life in Franklin, but housing is one area that the city can improve. We should do what we can to make this a desirable place for all citizens to thrive. Expanding housing options at all price points is a hot topic in our community, and perhaps we need to take another look at what is best for the Franklin of today and tomorrow.
Posted on: 1/16/2013