Not that you really need to be told that – it’s old news.
But how is Nashville’s rapid, unprecedented growth really impacting Middle Tennessee?
Each year, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce leads a local coalition that tracks the key issues impacting the greater Nashville region.
They then provide feedback / solutions on how we can address the issues in the Vital Signs report.
Nashville's Vital Signs report, which highlights the regional data collected and forecasts future regional challenges, is released to the public each October.
So, how will these issues impact Nashville’s real estate and business environment?
Unprecedented growth means more people.
More people lead to more cars on the road. Approximately 111,405 additional commuters in the last 5-years alone.
While the number of commuters using transit, walking, or biking to work has increased by over 21%, that still only amounts to 23,199 people today.
So, it’s no surprise that mobility in Nashville has rapidly decreased.
All of this additional traffic will encourage citizens to stay closer to home when commuting – whether that’s for work, shopping, or play.
This new behavior has lead to an increase in the development of mixed-use projects and neighborhood centers.
Why bother with a 20-minute commute when you could live upstairs, work downstairs, and play across the street?
Nashville retailers can expect to draw clientele that won’t have to travel too far or get on any major thoroughfares to see them. Neighborhoods like The Gulch and Germantown have grown in recent years because they provide retail and restaurant amenities to residents.
On the office front, more workers will want to live closer to work in order to cut down on their commute. Convenient locations for employees of office users and accessible parking will be a must.
Until our public transportation system picks up steam and relieves some of our transit stress, I believe this trend will continue to rise.
Nashville was ranked the #7 least walkable city in the entire U.S.
The Mayor’s office has passed some initiatives encouraging sidewalk installation on new developments to make Nashville neighborhoods more walkable.
Prospective homeowners highly value walkability - even affecting the pricing of certain neighborhoods. Not to mention that walkable neighborhoods can reduce the number of cars on the road.
Obesity rates have not yet begun trending downward, and obesity-related losses cost Nashville nearly $250,000,000 annually.
Employers offer incentives and programs to their employees to combat this productivity loss, resulting in 9 out of 10 Nashvillians feeling that their employers are interested in their being healthy.
With the country viewing fitness more and more as a lifestyle, I expect that Nashville will continue to become a healthier city. Employers are promoting health; And it certainly won’t hurt once citizens can more easily walk to their destinations.
The city’s poverty rate (11.6%) is lower than the U.S. average (14.0%), but nearly 44.6% of renters pay over 30% of their income in rent.
Such a high rent to income ratio is unsustainable, in my opinion, but where else are residents supposed to live?
The influx in recent years has driven property value and rental rates out the roof. Despite all the cranes, development has lagged behind in delivering the number of units necessary to house new residents.
We are finally starting to see a bit of a correction in the apartment market. In Germantown, some complexes are offering 2 months free on a 12-month lease – almost a 17% discount!
Affordable housing has been a hot topic, yet we haven't made much progress. Developers want to build affordable housing units but can’t afford to do so due to the sky-high prices they have to pay to acquire land.
We need the city to step up and begin offering real incentives for developers to build affordable housing. The city says affordable housing is on the top of its priorities list, but the process of applying for incentives is inefficient.
The city's educational offerings will have a major impact on future workforces.
Companies like Bridgestone are consistently choosing Nashville over other, larger cities due to the education available (and utilized) by residents.
The statewide high school graduation rate hit an all-time high of 89.1% this year – but for our future workforce, high school diplomas won’t be enough.
There is an increased focus on higher education – both two-year and four-year degrees.
The state has set a goal of 55%, which is just out of reach at our current 40.5%.
Community colleges have seen a 218% increase in attendance in recent years, likely due to the exorbitant costs of attending traditional four-year universities.
Community college is now free to all adults, so I expect the state could reach its educational goals in the next 10 to 20 years.
Increased competition amongst workers will lead to a stronger workforce, a huge benefit for business owners.
How will this impact you?
It’s difficult to say how these findings will impact each individual business.
However, Nashville is booming, businesses are relocating here every day, and it’s clear that:
As traffic rises, residents will seek options closer to home in both shopping and the workplace
Healthy lifestyles are on the upward trend and initiatives by the city, such as an increase in sidewalks, will continue to add walkable options for residents
Education, which is already strong, is continuing to move up through local and state initiatives, leading to a stronger workforce for employers