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Old 07-10-2017, 10:01 AM
 
Location: AZ
1,401 posts, read 3,550,276 times
Reputation: 691

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You may remember me from my thread in the Nashville forum. I've looked over options, and it just seems like for anywhere that I'd like to live and one day buy a house, closer to the city center, it's more expensive than I'd like it to be, so at this time I'm a little priced out from that market. So, I've turned my attention to two other cities: Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Everyone's got a bias, but I'd like people's personal experiences to coincide with facts about the two cities. Also, I know I'd need to spend time in both to get a feel, but I'd like to get some preliminary info to go off of.

I work from home, so the job market in both areas isn't as important of a factor, but it would be nice, just in case.

So here are my questions:

1. Does any city/metro have better internet options than the other? It's very important to me being that I work from home.

2. Which city is more affordable in terms of purchasing a relatively newer single family home?

3. Which city has a better economic outlook for people in their late 20s/early 30s? Which city is looking towards the future more?

4. Is the dating scene much different between cities?

5. Entertainment - what's a better city for "things to do"?

6. Also, what's a better city for outdoors? I grew up in Northern MN, and always had fun adventures by lakes, rivers, creeks, and trails, and I really miss that. I'd love to go walking, running, biking in and around a city.

And any other information you'd like to disclose, I'd more than appreciate it. It always helps hearing from people, and I look forward to your responses! Thank you in advance!

Last edited by acrylic; 07-10-2017 at 10:08 AM.. Reason: Added a couple questions
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Small town Tennessee
16,184 posts, read 11,058,677 times
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Keep in mind Knoxville has the state flagship university and the University of Tennessee also has a Chattanooga branch.

I go to Knoxville to "resupply" once or twice a month as it's much closer to where I am in extreme northeast TN. I've spent a couple of long weekends in Chattanooga and really enjoyed it as well.

Knoxville is and feels like a larger metro. It has the larger university, bigger suburbs, and has a much bigger feel overall. Chattanooga has the better downtown IMO, but outside of that, it seems a little more limited than Knoxville.

1) This is no competition. Chattanooga's power board redid the city's electrical grid within the last decade and most, if not all, properties in the city limits have access to gig fiber starting at $70/month. There is even a 10 gbps offering. I think Comcast and AT&T offer gig service in Knoxville, but is going to be location dependent and probably much, much more expensive. I know a guy who has started several internet dependent businesses and moved from Knoxville to Chattanooga largely for the better internet.

If you need better internet than the main cable providers, you might as well move to Chattanooga now. For context, we pay $60/month for a 50 mbps connection from Charter in Kingsport, and the connection has more downtime than I'd feel comfortable with telecommuting.

2) Urban Chattanooga seems more expensive than urban Knoxville. The housing stock just seems newer and a little nicer overall in Knoxville. Knoxville has more traditional, larger, affluent suburbs like Farragut. Other than Signal Mountain, most of Chattanooga's suburbs didn't seem as nice or comparable to a larger city.

3) Chattanooga is positioning itself as a lower cost tech center, largely based on the fiber infrastructure and core urban neighborhood renovation. Check out groups like devanooga to see where things are going.

Knoxville's economy seems broader, deeper, with a wider variety of jobs available. Knoxville has historically had a lower unemployment rate and higher wages.

Knoxville is going to be more traditional and probably steady. Chattanooga may have more upside for young people, especially the tech heavy crowd.

4) I'd doubt it, especially in the urban cores. I would say the suburban and rural areas outside of Chattanooga would get more "small town" feeling quicker than larger suburbs around Knoxville. Chattanooga is of course smaller.

5) I would go with Knoxville by a little bit. The state flagship will always bring a higher level of amenities than a regional state university. While UT-Chattanooga has its own sports, it's a far cry from UT football, which is basically a religion in Knoxville. The Lady Vols have historically been near the top of women's college ball, and the men's team has had some successful years.

Both should have plenty of restaurants, bars, breweries, though if you're coming from Phoenix, it'll probably seem small. Shopping is likely better in Knoxville. Chattanooga is closer to both Atlanta and Nashville if you want a bigger city fix.

6) Chattanooga has positioned itself as a kind of outdoors mecca, and various outdoor pursuits are available within the city limits. Google "Chattanooga Outdoors" and you'll see all sorts of nice information. Knoxville is no slouch in this department either, with numerous lakes and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park relatively close by. I'd give Chattanooga a slight edge, especially for in the city proper.

https://www.outsideonline.com/200870...an-chattanooga
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Old 07-10-2017, 03:45 PM
 
142 posts, read 219,142 times
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Guy with the fastest internet connection in the US lives in Chattanooga.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...-united-states

I would go with Chattanooga. Much cooler city and isn't dominated by the college.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:29 PM
 
Location: AZ
1,401 posts, read 3,550,276 times
Reputation: 691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Keep in mind Knoxville has the state flagship university and the University of Tennessee also has a Chattanooga branch.

I go to Knoxville to "resupply" once or twice a month as it's much closer to where I am in extreme northeast TN. I've spent a couple of long weekends in Chattanooga and really enjoyed it as well.

Knoxville is and feels like a larger metro. It has the larger university, bigger suburbs, and has a much bigger feel overall. Chattanooga has the better downtown IMO, but outside of that, it seems a little more limited than Knoxville.
In your opinion, do you feel like Chattanooga will be growing at a fast pace? I'm not necessarily looking for a large metro. I rarely venture outside of my suburb, to be honest with you. It's a safe suburb too, so a big thing that I'm looking for also is safe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
1) This is no competition. Chattanooga's power board redid the city's electrical grid within the last decade and most, if not all, properties in the city limits have access to gig fiber starting at $70/month. There is even a 10 gbps offering. I think Comcast and AT&T offer gig service in Knoxville, but is going to be location dependent and probably much, much more expensive. I know a guy who has started several internet dependent businesses and moved from Knoxville to Chattanooga largely for the better internet.

If you need better internet than the main cable providers, you might as well move to Chattanooga now. For context, we pay $60/month for a 50 mbps connection from Charter in Kingsport, and the connection has more downtime than I'd feel comfortable with telecommuting.
Internet isn't my main deciding factor, but it still is pretty important. If everything else fits the bill for me in Knoxville, I'd seriously consider that, but I do really like the fact that it seems that they're very tech-forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
2) Urban Chattanooga seems more expensive than urban Knoxville. The housing stock just seems newer and a little nicer overall in Knoxville. Knoxville has more traditional, larger, affluent suburbs like Farragut. Other than Signal Mountain, most of Chattanooga's suburbs didn't seem as nice or comparable to a larger city.
I noticed that. I was looking at houses between $160k-200k that didn't need a large amount of work done to them (I could afford more, but getting something larger or fancier is just not something that I'm looking for at this time), and it seems like there were much more of those in Knoxville.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
3) Chattanooga is positioning itself as a lower cost tech center, largely based on the fiber infrastructure and core urban neighborhood renovation. Check out groups like devanooga to see where things are going.

Knoxville's economy seems broader, deeper, with a wider variety of jobs available. Knoxville has historically had a lower unemployment rate and higher wages.

Knoxville is going to be more traditional and probably steady. Chattanooga may have more upside for young people, especially the tech heavy crowd.
I'm in the online marketing sphere, and I also have a small business - more of a solopreneur business at the moment, but definitely would like to expand. It's what I'm really good at and can't see myself changing career paths - maybe brewing beer when the online marketing life isn't for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
4) I'd doubt it, especially in the urban cores. I would say the suburban and rural areas outside of Chattanooga would get more "small town" feeling quicker than larger suburbs around Knoxville. Chattanooga is of course smaller.
I'll be honest, this is one of the things that's kind of important to me. I'm in my late twenties, and while I've dated women here in AZ in my 7 years here, overall it just feels like the whole "getting married" thing isn't that important out here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
5) I would go with Knoxville by a little bit. The state flagship will always bring a higher level of amenities than a regional state university. While UT-Chattanooga has its own sports, it's a far cry from UT football, which is basically a religion in Knoxville. The Lady Vols have historically been near the top of women's college ball, and the men's team has had some successful years.

Both should have plenty of restaurants, bars, breweries, though if you're coming from Phoenix, it'll probably seem small. Shopping is likely better in Knoxville. Chattanooga is closer to both Atlanta and Nashville if you want a bigger city fix.
I live maybe 25 minutes away from Arizona State University and in my 7 years here, I haven't gone to a Sun Devils game

I am okay with things being a bit smaller here - we've got more strip malls here than we know what to do with - so I'd be okay with one or two targets within driving distance rather than about 10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
6) Chattanooga has positioned itself as a kind of outdoors mecca, and various outdoor pursuits are available within the city limits. Google "Chattanooga Outdoors" and you'll see all sorts of nice information. Knoxville is no slouch in this department either, with numerous lakes and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park relatively close by. I'd give Chattanooga a slight edge, especially for in the city proper.

https://www.outsideonline.com/200870...an-chattanooga
That's fantastic info, thank you. Looks like both cities have some fun outdoors stuff to do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTFan View Post
Guy with the fastest internet connection in the US lives in Chattanooga.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...-united-states

I would go with Chattanooga. Much cooler city and isn't dominated by the college.
Thanks for replying - what in your opinion is cooler about Chattanooga?
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Small town Tennessee
16,184 posts, read 11,058,677 times
Reputation: 17179
Quote:
Originally Posted by acrylic View Post
In your opinion, do you feel like Chattanooga will be growing at a fast pace? I'm not necessarily looking for a large metro. I rarely venture outside of my suburb, to be honest with you. It's a safe suburb too, so a big thing that I'm looking for also is safe

I think it could potentially take off like Greenville, SC. Key word is potential. It's in a good location - close to Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville for day trips, multiple interstates, etc. With that said,
I have no idea what they have going on economically down there besides tech and some automotive. Historically, Chattanooga has had a higher unemployment rate and lower wages than Knoxville.


I noticed that. I was looking at houses between $160k-200k that didn't need a large amount of work done to them (I could afford more, but getting something larger or fancier is just not something that I'm looking for at this time), and it seems like there were much more of those in Knoxville.

And that's where I think Knoxville has a big edge. I just saw a 1BR condo in a real skinny rowhouse type development near downtown Chattanooga that started at $215k before any add-ons. That's absolutely absurd. Some of the housing prices in the urban core for new construction are approaching Nashville levels, but without the truly booming economy to back it up.

Another thing to remember about Chattanooga is if you get outside the city proper, you may lose the gig internet option - I have no idea how far it goes out. You do have cheaper options but they are likely to not be as nice. You also have to watch about finding a property you like in GA because you'll be out their state taxes.

This is in a suburban area of Knoxville, but is a 3BR/2BA villa style for $170k.

https://www.trulia.com/property/3273...ville-TN-37918


I'll be honest, this is one of the things that's kind of important to me. I'm in my late twenties, and while I've dated women here in AZ in my 7 years here, overall it just feels like the whole "getting married" thing isn't that important out here.

I've never lived in either, so I couldn't tell you directly. I live in the Tri-Cities in far northeast TN, and taken all together, we're about the same size in population as Chattanooga, but older, without the tech influence, and a lot more isolated. With that said, dating here is extremely difficult, much more difficult than when I lived in two larger Midwestern metros, and I'm a native - though spent most of the past five years in the Midwest.

Tech and outdoors activities tend to attract a lot of men. I'm not sure Chattanooga would be worse for dating, but it being smaller and with it kind of skewing toward activities driven by men makes me think it could be.


I live maybe 25 minutes away from Arizona State University and in my 7 years here, I haven't gone to a Sun Devils game

I am okay with things being a bit smaller here - we've got more strip malls here than we know what to do with - so I'd be okay with one or two targets within driving distance rather than about 10.

Either would probably fit the bill then. Knoxville has a good mall (West Town), a very nice "lifestyle center" type shopping development (Turkey Creek), most of your big national retailers like Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Aldi, Publix, etc.
See responses in-line above.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:25 PM
 
Location: AZ
1,401 posts, read 3,550,276 times
Reputation: 691
Thank you for your response, Serious Conversation. One other question, if you or someone else has the insight - building a home on a plot of land - is the cost per square foot for a new home about the same in each city/metro or is one cheaper than the other with that?

As I mentioned before, I'm definitely going to go out and take a visit, but it's great to have this preliminary data to help me go off of
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Small town Tennessee
16,184 posts, read 11,058,677 times
Reputation: 17179
Quote:
Originally Posted by acrylic View Post
Thank you for your response, Serious Conversation. One other question, if you or someone else has the insight - building a home on a plot of land - is the cost per square foot for a new home about the same in each city/metro or is one cheaper than the other with that?

As I mentioned before, I'm definitely going to go out and take a visit, but it's great to have this preliminary data to help me go off of
You'd want to contact builders for that. I'm assuming you're asking about something custom built (not a spec house) on a plot of land you already own, and not something just plopped into a development? My guess is that is going to get expensive quickly. I would say $125-$150 sq. ft and then potentially up from there depending on finishes, etc. In my area, it is difficult to get any new construction for under $125/sq. ft, most going up to $150-ish.

One thing to note on the new construction is that where there is more of it, it is generally more affordable, regardless of other factors. I live in Kingsport, which has a little over 50,000 residents, and Trulia lists three "new construction" homes in this area. The cheapest one was about $330k and $137/sq. ft. The other two were over $175/sq. ft. If you're interested in new construction, go where there is more of it, all other things equal.

I did a quick comparison on Trulia between Knoxville and Chattanooga on new home construction. Metro Chattanooga seems to have a lot more going up than Knoxville does, and at more affordable price points. If you're considering new construction, metro Chattanooga will likely have more options. A lot of these were on the GA side so you will want to factor in the GA income taxes if you choose that.

Last edited by Serious Conversation; 07-12-2017 at 08:24 AM..
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:16 AM
 
Location: AZ
1,401 posts, read 3,550,276 times
Reputation: 691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
You'd want to contact builders for that. I'm assuming you're asking about something custom built (not a spec house) on a plot of land you already own, and not something just plopped into a development? My guess is that is going to get expensive quickly. I would say $125-$150 sq. ft and then potentially up from there depending on finishes, etc. In my area, it is difficult to get any new construction for under $125/sq. ft, most going up to $150-ish.

One thing to note on the new construction is that where there is more of it, it is generally more affordable, regardless of other factors. I live in Kingsport, which has a little over 50,000 residents, and Trulia lists three "new construction" homes in this area. The cheapest one was about $330k and $137/sq. ft. The other two were over $175/sq. ft. If you're interested in new construction, go where there is more of it, all other things equal.

I did a quick comparison on Trulia between Knoxville and Chattanooga on new home construction. Metro Chattanooga seems to have a lot more going up than Knoxville does, and at more affordable price points. If you're considering new construction, metro Chattanooga will likely have more options. A lot of these were on the GA side so you will want to factor in the GA income taxes if you choose that.
Thank you so much!
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:12 PM
 
4,947 posts, read 7,183,089 times
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Here's another post comparing the cities:

Chattanooga vs Knoxville vs Tri-Cities vs Clarksville

As you see, Chattanooga wins the popularity contest if that is important to you. But a lot of us like Knoxville. My advice is to visit both and see if one feels like home. If you still haven't decided then you can drill down for details.
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Old 07-14-2017, 02:56 PM
 
Location: AZ
1,401 posts, read 3,550,276 times
Reputation: 691
Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
Here's another post comparing the cities:

Chattanooga vs Knoxville vs Tri-Cities vs Clarksville

As you see, Chattanooga wins the popularity contest if that is important to you. But a lot of us like Knoxville. My advice is to visit both and see if one feels like home. If you still haven't decided then you can drill down for details.
Thanks for that link!
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