Exeter breaks ground on new housing development

Smee Homes representatives (front) break ground at the new development site on N. Filbert Rd. Also pictured in the back row are representatives from the City of Exeter and Tricia Kirksey Real Estate Group with Melson Realty.(Kenny Goodman)

Recent groundbreaking ceremony signifies the start of construction of new single-family residential homes in Exeter along with overall community growth

EXETER – After almost two decades of stagnant activity in housing development, Exeter is now gaining 34 new homes to expand the community and grow its housing capacity.

Representatives from the city of Exeter, Smee Homes and the Tricia Kirksey Real Estate Group from Melson Realty came to take part in the ground breaking of the new housing development in Exeter. This is Exeter’s first housing development to come about in the last 15 to 20 years, and the new homes are expected to benefit Exeter economically, financially and socially.

“We’ve had a great time working with the city of Exeter and getting this project to where it is now. We’re very excited for the construction team and the sales team with Melson Realty,” president and owner of Smee Homes Jason Moyes said.

The development is located on Yokohl Landing on Sequoia Court and Filbert Road, expanding on what is already a residential area of Exeter. Homes from the development are already on sale through Melson Realty. The available homes currently have “flex plans,” which are housing plans that have varying options for the design of the home, such as the number of rooms built or stylistic choices.

According to Moyes, the 34 single-family homes are being mindfully built to accommodate residents regardless of their stage of life. The homes range from 1,400 square-feet to 3,000 square-feet with varying price ranges depending on the finishes clients choose.

Melson Realty agents echoed the sentiments of Moyes as they explained the benefits of the new Exeter homes.

“We have a home for every stage of life. We have those homes for first time homebuyers, and we do anticipate that some of our larger homes are going to be (purchased by) moving buyers,” Christy Costa from Melson Realty said.

Cynthia Green from Melson Realty continued to explain that the home builders are including a solar package with the purchase of each home on Yokohl Landing. She continued to state that the development is the “best of both worlds” because it is not a huge development but will still have a significant impact on a small community like Exeter.

These new houses will allow for growth in the community as well as provide existing residents with a way to stay in the community after their current homes no longer suit their lifestyles. According to Melson Realty, the agency has had to move residents in search of housing in Exeter – who love the small town and are interested in living there – to other towns due to the lack of homes available in the area.

“I’ve sold houses in the last several years, to (between) five to 10 families that really wanted to be in Exeter, but needed something larger,” Christy Costa said. “So then we lost them to Visalia even though their hearts actually are here.”

The 34 homes that will be built are fulfilling a need community members have been asking for since 2019. According to Exeter City Manager Adam Ennis, the city conducted a survey in 2019 asking residents about what improvements they would like to see in Exeter, and a common request among residents was more housing development in the city.

“You have to keep up with your increasing costs. If you keep a city the same size with no growth, but the cost to do business keeps going up, then you get people having to pay more within the city,” Ennis said. “I think the real key is to keep it controlled and organized and not let growth get out of control.”

The city is allowing for new housing developments by zoning more residential properties in the city limits to accommodate the developments. This allows for developers like Smee Homes to come build more homes.

“Tulare County has always been special to us. Our company started here a long time ago and we only really build in Tulare County,” Moyes said. “We take a lot of pride in what we do and where we do it.”

According to what was said by multiple sources at the groundbreaking, these new houses will benefit the community in a number of ways. More housing will allow for more residents in a time where housing is needed more than ever. Not only do more residents increase the taxes that go towards maintaining the city but they provide more community members to support local business.

Residents and buyers can expect the new Exeter homes to be finished within four to six months, depending on if any challenges arise through construction. As it turns out, getting the land ready for development presented its own challenges.

“We were set to start moving dirt out here, and then with all the relentless rain, it was just too wet for a while; so they had all the equipment off site and let it dry out,” Green, from Melson Realty, said.

Despite the setbacks, this development has been in the works for a couple of years, but the plans are finally paying off now that the land is ready for construction.

Those interested in the homes available for the new development can call 559-785-0002 or visit smeehomes.com/yokohllanding.

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