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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 10-21-2022, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Seattle
7,538 posts, read 17,221,758 times
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Hey Toyman, I grew up about 15 miles from Del Rio. If you ever need a dialect lesson, let me know.
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Old 11-06-2022, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Chicago
16 posts, read 24,472 times
Reputation: 26
Hello again everyone! I wanted to take a few minutes to report on my latest (and last) scouting trip to NETN. First I would once again like to thank everyone for their input on recommendations, and responses to my questions. All the input, and first hand knowledge I received from the people on this site in multiple forums over the years has proved to be invaluable.
Jabogitlu: Your recommendation to explore Southern Greene County was spot on. I followed your suggestion about the 107 Cutoff and explored much of the side roads East of TN351. There sure are some beautiful places in there, and in Mid October when I was there, the scenery of the landscape was amazing. I followed Houston Valley Road South to Dixie Highway (TN25) the West again and explored a bit in Del Rio, but skipped Newport. I have to admit, I was closed off from the idea of exploring in Cocke County on previous trips, but I am very glad I did it on this one. Thanks again for your first hand input.
Toyman: I remember reading your posts on this site from the time you first went to TN looking for a place to live, to the time you moved there. It's hard to believe it has been a year already that you are there, but I'm very glad to hear you are happy with your choice. Thank you also for your input, you live in a very beautiful area. As a country boy trapped in a big city (for now) I have learned that my accent is a give away to my location even here in rural parts of Illinois. On this trip to TN, I met with a home builder in Sweetwater that made a comment on my accent immediately after I introduced myself. All I can do is hope that the locals are willing to excuse that until I have time to adjust after relocating. After working the last 15 years in public safety in the worst neighborhoods Chicago has, there are other dialect's I am familiar with, but I am certain they will be useless where I am heading, and I look forward to forgetting them once I leave here.
Moving on to the original topic of this thread that was real estate. What I have been seeing in the areas of Unicoi, Carter, and Greene Counties is longer listing times, and more price decreases. The homes and land tracts that are for sale with the sellers just throwing up a number to see if it sells are just sitting for sale. I have seen multiple properties listed this way and were removed from the MLS listing without selling. In Greeneville specifically I have also seen new construction homes be discounted by the contractors in an effort to move them. The parcels that are listed with a more reasonable price for the area are selling, but not as quickly. The interest rate hikes coupled with various company's starting to call remote workers back to physical work locations, and the threat of corporate lay off's taking effect in 2023 seems to be trickling into the real estate market. All I can do now is watch the market for the areas I am focused on, and continue to stack cash. My next trip down will be when I am ready to buy. Once again my sincerest thank you to all that have contributed to this discussion. DM's are always welcome, and if anyone has a real estate agent to recommend, I would appreciate any referrals.
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Old 11-07-2022, 11:49 AM
 
8,079 posts, read 10,070,207 times
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What you noted, and i had a similar experience back in the 2010-2011 time frame, is that prices are slower to drop in the area but drop they will.

It takes maybe as long as 18 months for the slowdown to really be felt, and compared with urban areas such as the northeast or even the upper midwest, people were telling me that "oh it is different here; we don't experience those sort of slowdowns".

But they did fall, and many/most if the contractors went out of business. The remaining few had difficulty finding trades people and products with which to build as suppliers also folded up. I must have picked out flooring and deck materials at least a half dozen times, but the suppliers didn't make that product any longer if they were even still in business.

My advice is be patient, and what you experienced with lower prices/longer time on market will really hit home in the next 12 months or so. While things are wildly robust now, one day the switch gets turned off and there are literally NO buyers in sight. Some sellers hang on because "i could have gotten XYZ a year ago", but others, especially builders with inventory and bank loans, have to move the product, take the loss and figure out how to feed the family for a few years.

Patience is your friend.
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Old 11-07-2022, 12:55 PM
 
Location: TN/NC
35,057 posts, read 31,258,424 times
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I don't live in the rural parts of the area, but...

I don't see how the real estate run-ups around here since the pandemic are at all sustainable. Yes, there is some out of area/remote worker and retiree interest here, but it's not like Florida, a beach/ski area, or even somewhere like Asheville.

This area just does not have the professional/high wage job base, or some other "feature," to sustain high housing prices. It isn't there. It's not like the economy here has gotten markedly better to warrant the increases. Much of the increases are related to cheap interest rates, and, to a point, "political refugees" and larger pandemic-era migration patterns.

I've worked for two of the very large professional employers in this area. Wages have gone up since the pandemic, but not like housing prices. New hires, at least in corporate departments, make considerably less, even after for adjusting for COL, than somewhere like Charlotte or Knoxville. Sure, housing costs may be 20%-30% higher there, but what if my wages go up 30%-50%? The math doesn't work.

Like you said, if remote workers here have to go back to a major city, that could place pressure on housing prices. Rates are going to have an impact because most of the houses here appear to be bought with typical W-2 salary income. Sure, my wages have gone up, a bit, but not enough to account for the run-ups plus interest rate increases over the last few years.

I don't know if prices will crash, but they certainly need to level off, and probably will.
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Old 11-16-2022, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Vermont
9,432 posts, read 5,197,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
My folks (107 Highway) have so many new neighbors. Most of them are from California and New York, or rural New England (mostly Vermont). We have around 200 acres and the number of offers to buy the property is pretty intense.

The folks moving to the more rural parts of NETN don't really need an economic base as they have $500k+ in cash from the sale of the former home, are semi- or fully retired or otherwise WFH, and just want 5 acres to do their thing in peace. The "inner cities" in the Tri-Cities will likely continue to lag, which really does underscore the lack of economy in the area. (A good example is the E Unaka area of Johnson City, which in most other cities would be among the highest priced homes, but there... it just isn't.)
We don't have that kind of cash but NETN is where we looked a few years back. I also very much liked the Greenville area. Know a few old friends from CA who moved to your neck of the woods (we moved here to VT from CA in 2003). People know a good place when they see it, especially expense wise, but that must be driving the locals nuts. Several I know though moved south of Nashville (I didn't look there). I know how it can be with people coming from elsewhere. You know it right away here because they are loud, rude and obnoxious. Hopefully they will be good neighbors to you.
What kills me is Vermonters moving there. I know the landscape is similar to here in many ways (and is one of the reasons I love TN) but these folks vote in all these liberal/progressives who know nothing EXCEPT tax the homeowner here, and then they leave because of it!

I'll be back this summer.
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Old 07-26-2023, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Catonsville, Md
265 posts, read 509,252 times
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We looked for a home here, but it's real hilly. It's a great place but try cutting your lawn on a hilly steep area. LOL
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Old 07-27-2023, 06:49 AM
 
Location: TN/NC
35,057 posts, read 31,258,424 times
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Timely bump.

https://www.wjhl.com/news/local/bala...arket-ranking/

Johnson City and Kingsport are once again in the top 10 of these rankings. Johnosn City median home price is now up to $422,000.
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Old 07-27-2023, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
10,054 posts, read 14,418,692 times
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Wow, that is absolutely shocking and so high of a price tag!

Johnson City now more expensive than homes in Charlotte ($385k), Tampa ($417k), Houston ($315k), Kansas City ($290k) and many, many more cities.

Price increase is probably due to such a huge influx of retirees moving to the JC and tri-cities area.

Long term, this is not a good thing. I believe the area is in a huge bubble that could burst in a few months. Prices will most likely start trending downward, to match most of the country.

Johnson City is no longer an "affordable" option for housing.
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Old 07-27-2023, 01:44 PM
 
Location: TN/NC
35,057 posts, read 31,258,424 times
Reputation: 47513
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjbradleynyc View Post
Wow, that is absolutely shocking and so high of a price tag!

Johnson City now more expensive than homes in Charlotte ($385k), Tampa ($417k), Houston ($315k), Kansas City ($290k) and many, many more cities.

Price increase is probably due to such a huge influx of retirees moving to the JC and tri-cities area.

Long term, this is not a good thing. I believe the area is in a huge bubble that could burst in a few months. Prices will most likely start trending downward, to match most of the country.

Johnson City is no longer an "affordable" option for housing.
And it's not even limited to Johnson City.

I bought a townhouse in Bristol back in 2019 for about $100k. Comps in my complex that have sold recently are up to $160k-$180k. It's absolutely mind-boggling to me. If you got a $100k loan in 2019 at 4.5%, that's about a $500/month payment - very affordable. That same property today, at $170k and a 7.25% interest rate, is about $1,150/month. These rates are essentially dead money.

Back in 2019, I was looking at some townhomes in Gray in the same price range. When those come up, they're pushing $200k. For Gray! All Gray has is convenience to both Johnson City and Kingsport - there's not much directly there. I believe median selling price in Piney Flats and Gray is now right around $500k. Neither area is anything special. I don't understand this at all.

Keep in mind that Johnson City is the only "nice city" in the region. Bristol is making strides, but is still quite small, and farther away from anything else of consequence. Kingsport has been trending downward for years. Johnson City has probably appreciated more than the surrounding areas, and I don't think it will decline as bad. Even far-flung regions in southwest VA have had unreasonable appreciation.

I agree these prices aren't sustainable, given the lack of wages and growth outside of Johnson City. I'm sure some of this is out of area/retiree money, but this isn't Florida or somewhere that is really booming. Population growth has been about the same rate as it was pre-pandemic.

I ended up switching jobs at the first of the year, leaving Ballad and taking a job with a government in western NC. I work remotely, but there's no reason for me to live in TN anymore. Asheville is super expensive, but Johnson City is quickly catching up. Financially, it just doesn't make a lot of sense to remain in TN in my situation.

Last edited by Serious Conversation; 07-27-2023 at 01:53 PM..
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Old 07-27-2023, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Seattle
7,538 posts, read 17,221,758 times
Reputation: 4843
I disagree that the average house price will be on a downward trend anytime soon. The area is on the long-term radar of people retiring who want to live in a moderately conservative, leave-me-alone region. Your competitive markets aren't Charlotte or Tampa or Houston... JC relocators are trying to avoid those markets. Also, Tennessee is now well-known due to Nashville, and the lack of an income tax is a strong component of relocation demand, even if a significant portion of your base is retirees. And those relocators and retirees are still coming from California, New York, Colorado, Texas, Wahsington and Florida, bringing with them significant equity to buy down their mortgages at high rates or just simply pay cash for a house.

And as the poster said above, Johnson City is by far the nicest city in NETN. Future supply will continue to be restrained by structurally high interest rates (aka development finance costs) vs. pricing expectations, costs of materials and labor, and even land supply within a 20/30-minute car drive to JCMC/ETSU or the JC Mall.

When supply is constrained and demand is consistent or increasing, I can't see housing or land prices decreasing. If places like Johnson City lose significant value on their housing stock, we have major issues across the entire nation. The only headwind I can really identify is for relocations, with difficulty selling their home in another market with high rates. But (IMHO) that points to a softer market for metros with high housing costs, not really for the suburban and rural housing markets like JC.

Last edited by jabogitlu; 07-27-2023 at 02:18 PM..
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