Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / Homebuilding is continuing in the Chattanooga area, including at the Rock Bridge subdivision off Wooten Road in Graysville, Ga., though these homes are for sale and unrelated to the Hamilton Villas project.

Chattanooga developers are moving forward with 128 garden patio homes in East Brainerd which will be available for rent in a $16 million project.

Hamilton Villas will go up near Igou Gap and Morris Hill roads starting in early 2021 as the project tries to meet the needs of renters in the area, said Marcus Lyons of Lyons Group Inc.

"America is evolving into a nation of renters, and their taste in product type is changing," said Lyons about the project.

Lyons, who is developing Hamilton Villas with Nerren and Win Pratt of Pratt Home Builders, said figures show there are home shortages across the Southeast.

"The single-family rental product is a faster way to make homes more accessible to the consumers," he said.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said earlier this month that housing demand is robust but supply is not.

Yun said the need for housing will grow even further, especially in areas that are attractive to those who can work from home.

Lyons said Hamilton Villas will hold one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, which should be ready for occupancy in 2022.

Rents will range from $1,100 to $1,800 per month, he said.

The project will include a pool, clubhouse, fitness studio, walking trails and dog park, Lyons said.

Also, Hamilton Villas will be a gated community, and the residences will have private back yards, he said.

Lyons Group with its development partners have purchased four sites in the past 18 months slated to hold new residential construction, Lyons said. He said about 400 homes are in the pipeline and 190 currently under construction.

In Chattanooga, home sales continued last month to rebound from the coronavirus-spurred slump in the spring, boosting the median price of homes sold in the city during August to an all-time high.

The Greater Chattanooga Realtors association said home sales last month were up 2.4% from a year earlier to 1,057 even as the inventory of homes on the market continued to shrink.

As a result, the median sales price for Chattanooga homes in August rose to $247,000, or 23.5% more than just a year earlier, as more buyers bid up the price for fewer homes.

Near downtown Chattanooga, the biggest housing and commercial project to go up in the East Main Street area in decades is planned for about 30 acres around the former Standard-Coosa- Thatcher textile site.

Called Mill Town, the $120 million development would hold about 330 units along with apartments and commercial space, said Ethan Collier, president of Collier Construction.

Contact Mike Pare at Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.