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Business

New homes mushroom countywide

By JENNIFER LIBERTO
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 16, 2003

Hernando Oaks isn't the only hot spot for home construction in the county.

The pace of development has increased on both the east and west sides of Hernando, say real estate agents, brokers and builders. In other words, the entire county is hot.

The number of permits issued for new home construction in Hernando last year -- 1,758 -- was up 32 percent over 2001. It was the largest number of permits issued in the county since 1989.

"Sales are really scattered," said Scott Nicoletti of Nicoletti Homes. "We've had a lot of half-acre subdivisions as well as rural acreage selling out east. But when you're talking about a basic home and a younger family, proximity to the (Suncoast) parkway is more desirable."

Spring Hill has benefitted in a big way from the strong home construction and resale market.

"All of Spring Hill is just going crazy," said Dan Richard, president of Florida Realty Connections, which both sells and rents homes.

Areas around State Road 50 and Mariner Boulevard have been popular, Richard said. But all of Spring Hill, in general, is selling well.

The results can be seen in Spring Hill subdivisions, especially those close to the Suncoast Parkway.

Silverthorn is nearly built out, with fewer than two dozen lots unspoken for, community director Christine France said.

The Seven Hills development is half full, and Pristine Place is about two-thirds full, said Kathy Chipelo of Seven Hills Inc.

Glen Lakes, north of Weeki Wachee on U.S. 19, also had a good year and is now about half full, Glen Lakes spokesman David Craighead said.

On the east side, more new homes are going up close to Interstate 75 and in the Spring Lake area, builders said.

"A lot of things seem to be shifting over toward the parkway and between the parkway and 75," said Mark Alexander of Alexander Custom Homes, who has seen more Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas transplants looking for a few acres in the country.

Another area selling surprisingly well is Royal Highlands, north of Weeki Wachee, especially since some of its limerock roads have been paved, builders said.

"If they do more of that paving around there, we'd have more builders," Shiloh Homes president Eugene Concklin said.

Others have their eye on what could become future hot spots for home construction.

The Sand Ridge development off Elgin Boulevard is close to starting construction of Phase 1, which is for 45 new homes. Construction should begin within the next three months, said Alan Garman of Civil-Tech Consulting Engineers of Brooksville.

Also, construction should begin before the end of 2003 on a giant 1,250-unit development on 515 acres off Elgin, Garman said.

That development is temporarily being called Holland Springs and would be one of the largest housing developments in the county.

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