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Building permit applications show Olive Branch homes rising in size

Low interest rates, a healthy economy and increased or dual incomes are prompting a trend toward bigger homes in Olive Branch.

According to building permit applications, the average size home being constructed rose from 3,100 square feet to around 3,450 square feet.

Two years ago Andrea Hodges drew up plans for her dream home on a cocktail napkin — six bedrooms, even more bathrooms, and lots of space for entertaining. She shared the image with her husband, Brian, a granite and marble importer.

“It looked a lot smaller then,” said Brian Hodges, 33.

The Hodges moved into their 7,000-square-foot house last week.

Dawkins Farms, where the Hodges live, contains the largest homes for sale. The subdivision of about 100 acres is being built off College Road. The development includes a waterfall and three lakes. About 130 houses are planned.

“These are the largest and most expensive homes on the market,” said Tammy Aldridge of Crye Leike Realtors.

The prices within the subdivision range between $414,900 to more than three quarters of a million dollars, Aldridge said. The homes include “really nice custom features,” including hardwood floors, granite countertops, custom cabinetry and extensive trim work.

Jim McDougal, county planning director, noted earlier this month that he’s observed a trend of bigger homes in unincorporated areas, too, particularly on the east side of the county. It’s not unusual to see permits for 3,500- and 4,000-square-foot homes. The smallest home so far in Dawkins Farm in 3,200 square feet.

Officials have pointed to a strong stock market as another reason why more people are building larger houses.

For the Hodges, it was about a dream. They wanted to create a fun place their family could grow into, and later, where the couple could live in retirement.