Health Beat: Medical professionals fuel market for high-end homes

Thursday, August 23, 2007
A house by the water is a peaceful setting at Saddlebrook Ridge. (Fred Lynch)

Both Southeast Missouri Hospital and Saint Francis Medical Center are expanding, adding medical innovations and opening new office suites. That means new physicians, technicians, nurses and other medical personnel.

They have to live somewhere.

Doris Jean Arnold, an agent with Century 21 Ashland Realty says the right real estate agent can convince a physician that Cape Girardeau is not just stopping off point in his or her career, but a place to put down roots.

"It's good job security for the hospital if they buy," she said.

Arnold says she knows of subdivisions for doctors, for nurses and plenty of rentals for those who want a place to live while they look around for a place to buy.

"The hospital and the university are two major groups that I think bring people to Cape," Arnold said. "What better thing for the real estate market than to have what Cape Girardeau has to offer? What other town has two cancer centers, breast cancer centers, brain centers and affiliation with M.D. Anderson?"

Physicians are generally interested in high-end property in good neighborhoods in the price range beginning at around $300,000, said Denise Glass of ReMax Realty Experts in Cape Girardeau. They like amenities some of the upscale subdivisions have to offer -- gated entrances, soccer fields, tennis courts, swimming pool.

"We have one agent here who deals quite a bit with incoming physicians," she said.

Physicians are not the only professionals looking to buy in the area.

"Keep in mind as far as Cape and Jackson area, we have Procter & Gamble here, Rubbermaid, and I had a couple of people transfer in from Wal-Mart lately," said Sheila King of Realty Executives in Jackson.

"We have the university, two big hospitals; with hospitals and doctors coming in, there's a lot of people employed at both hospitals. I think having that is great for our area."

Builder Mike Mathes said that the higher end homes are the ones selling the fastest.

"We have so much land in a 30-mile area, we can fill it up," Mathes said. "We have lots of area to grow.

"Cape has everything St. Louis and Memphis have: river, railroad, interstate, airport and lots of land. We're sitting in the center of several states. People would come if they could get the right jobs. It is our time to grow. It's a great community with a good climate, and it's stable."

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