Not too many years ago, this area claimed 50 percent of new home construction for Hillsborough County.
Then, the recession took its toll.
Instead of building 4,000 homes a year in the four-county region, building dropped by nearly half — with only 2,500 homes a year going up over the past few years.
The Brandon area is now seeing a bit of an upswing, as several previously stagnant or slow-growing subdivisions are getting back on track with construction.
Homes are going up in Valtera on Valrico Road, in Misty Glen on Windhorst Road, in Riverview's Winthrop Village and in Southern Oaks Grove on Front Street in Valrico, among others.
"It has picked up a little bit, especially in the last six or seven months," said Marvin Rose of Rose Residential Reports, who makes it his business to keep up with residential construction.
"We're at such a low base, it's hard to tell what is significant," Rose said. "Building could increase 300 percent from what it was, and we would still be way below" the previous construction market.
But, he said, home building in this area seems to be moving in the right direction.
In this area, in particular, an April report showed that there have been 221 new residential closings. That is about 20 percent of new home construction in Hillsborough County, Rose said. In total, 849 new homes had closed throughout the county as of April.
"Brandon did 760 for the year, which was 29 percent of the county's total of 2,600" last year, Rose said.
M/I Homes purchased Misty Glen last year, and business is going well, said M/I Homes Area President Marshall Gray.
"Misty Glen was a project that was originally developed by a different home builder. He went out of business, and we purchased the lots," Gray said. "We built the model over the last year, and now we are down to two or three lots."
M/I Homes initially purchased 32 lots in Misty Glen.
"There were about a dozen homes already built and we've sold two or three a month since we bought it," Gray said.
"It has been very successful for us."
So successful, in fact, that M/I Homes is starting a new 30-lot development just across Windhorst from Misty Glen, located about a half mile west of Parsons Avenue.
"We're calling it Misty Ridge," he said. "We'll start selling there the latter part of this year."
M/I Homes is seeing more traffic, Gray said. "People are able to get loans. There has been a 10-20 percent increase in confidence," so people are more likely to seek out a new home, he said.
And while there are still hundreds of previously built houses in the area up for sale, Rose said the longer they sit, the harder they are to sell.
"There is certainly a mix" of new and previously built homes selling, Rose said. "We are off the bottom in terms of new home sales, and the value of buying new rather than resale is probably increasing" because some of the resale homes are starting to deteriorate after sitting for a few years.
"You get mold and pests and insects" if a house sits vacant with no air conditioning for too long, he said.
"We are most definitely seeing an upswing," Rose said. "Builders I talk to are much more optimistic than they have been for the last six years. Building stopped in the middle of 2006."