Kingsport, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Kingsport metro area joins Johnson City in the top 10 among closely watched areas, Wall Street Journal/realtor.com Quarterly National Housing Markets Index topped by the City of Johnson in the fall.
The Kingsport Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranked seventh out of more than 300 metro housing markets in its quarterly Emerging Housing Markets Index released Wednesday. A realtor.com article showed it up from 37th in the fall.
Meanwhile, Johnson City’s MSA posted its third consecutive quarter in the top five. The quarterly index lists the top 20 markets each time. Johnson City was No. 3 in the summer, No. 1 in the fall and No. 5 in Wednesday’s rankings.
The article outlined the characteristics of the community that the latest ratings, amid a general housing market downturn nationwide, tend to favor:
“(h) Markets that offer shoppers a lower cost of living, including for homes, relatively stable real estate indices amidst a broader market in flux, and thriving local economies that are attractive, but not overcrowded.”
Moving to Kingsport Jeff Fleming is a former City Manager. He told Channel 11 News that Kingsport’s entry into the top 10 doesn’t surprise him.
“Because of what’s going on with affordability across the country, we’re looking pretty good right now,” Fleming said.
Move to Kingsport uses targeted advertising to attract people in areas where the data shows that people have already moved to Kingsport. Of the 2,204 households that moved to Kingsport from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2022, 269 were from Florida and 216 were from California. Tennessee topped the list with 399 people, but people have moved in from every state, and Fleming said numbers from California and other outlying states are rising.
Fleming said he believes a lot of people have “reset” during the pandemic.
“They started to think about what was important to them, what they really wanted in society, and then we started trying to appeal to those things,” he said. They wanted low taxes, they wanted affordable housing, they wanted amenities, and they wanted great public schools so they didn’t have to pay for private schools. And we check a lot of those boxes.”
Thursday’s article specifically mentioned that many emerging markets are “affordable havens from rising costs,” both in terms of home prices and the cost of living. Kingsport’s median home price of $299,900 in December was 25% lower than the national average—and the article specifically called out another appeal in favor of the metro area.
Some locations like Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol and Tenn-Va. offering just over 14% savings compared to the national cost of living,” the authors write. They also note that even in a national market where sales have slowed and inventories have grown, highly rated markets were more stable and also saw prices rise above the national average.
Fleming said growth in the two metropolitan areas is as strong as he has ever seen. He said that this steady growth is something the region needs after a decade or more of stagnant to negative population growth.
If you don’t bring in people from abroad to support the economy, the economy will contract. We’re nowhere near exposed to the risk of high growth in this area.
“We could shrink like a rust belt, we could boom 20% like Nashville and Murfreesboro, which is not sustainable in my opinion or we might be right, and that’s what I think of the Tri-Cities,” Fleming said.
The winter rankings also listed the Knoxville market at No. 14. Columbus, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were the only two markets with more than a million inhabitants.
the WSJ/Realtor.com The methodology falls into two broad categories of real estate market and economic health/quality of life. Sub-indicators include real estate demand, real estate supply, and the average listing price trend for real estate.
For economy and quality of life, they include:
- The unemployment
- Regional price parity
- The share of those born abroad
- Small trade
- Amenities (measured in “everyday luxury” stores per capita
- He commutes daily to work
- Estimated actual property taxes
“Beer fan. Travel specialist. Amateur alcohol scholar. Bacon trailblazer. Music fanatic.”