Hyper-local look at Tri-Cities housing markets – what’s hot, what’s warm


There’s no argument that the Tri-Cities housing market is pretty hot. Every city and county market has recovered and surpassed pre-recession levels. Ditto for average sales prices. And when year-to-year sales and pending sales are calculated the region stands out statewide.

But if you step back, take a deep breath and look at it first from a long view then from a hyper-local view there’s some context to be added. It’s worth the time investment because it illustrates just how hyper-local real estate is. And while there are some hot spots, not all of the local markets are hot. Some are warm and a few are cool.

The longer view comes from the Realtor.com Hotness Market Index. It exposes how local areas are experiencing fast-moving supply and rising demand. Using proprietary insights on buyer activity and a comprehensive array of data on active inventory, the analysis breaks down demand and supply dynamics to rank metro areas, counties and zip codes relative to the rest of the country.

Looking at Northeast Tennessee, the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) stands out as the hottest Q2 regional market. Morristown would likely rival that, but Realtor.com cutoff its analysis at 300 MSAs and Morristown didn’t make the cut.

Johnson City ranks 91 out of the 300 metros in the rankings. It’s classified as a “slightly hot” markets that is heading up compared to last month and last year. The median days on market is 67 and inventory is moving 8% faster than last year and 6% slower than the US overall. Properties in the area get an average number of views 1.7 times higher than the US average.

This assessment squares with both the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) Pending Sales Index and the Attom Data Solution’s Pre-mover Index.

Knoxville had the second highest Hotness Index ranking in NE Tenn. – 100. It’s also ranked as a slightly hot market that’s heating up.

Kingsport-Bristol rounds out the region with a ranking of 192. It’s ranked as “slightly cool,” but heading up compared to last month and last year. Median days on market is 77.75 while inventory is moving 11% faster than last year and 16.8 days slower than the US overall. Properties in the four-county MSA get an average number of views 1.1 times higher than the US average.

This also squares with NETAR’s forward-looking Pending Sales Index and the Attom Data Solutions Pre-mover Index.

From a regional perspective, the Hotness Index is in conflict with a couple of NETAR data points. For instance, Sullivan County has consistently increased its market share this year. Hawkins County has also fared strongly on this metric. But Washington, Carter, and Unicoi counties gave struggled to maintain market share equal to their 2017 annual benchmark. Sullivan County also has a higher year-to-date growth rate than Washington County.

When you begin peeling the market onion by looking at the index by zip code the reason for differences between the Johnson City and Kingsport metro market rankings come into focus. The short explanation is there are fewer small markets in the three-county Johnson City metro area and they perform at a higher level than the smaller markets in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol market.

And if you make a local adjustment Realtor.com’s indices,  six of the local market zip codes can be ranked as the local hot markets. Ranked in order of hotness they are:

37615 – Johnson City.

37650 – Erwin.

37604 – Johnson City.

37663 – Kingsport.

37601 – Johnson City.

37692 – Unicoi.

The next 14 markets get a local slightly hot rating:

37643 – Elizabethton.

37609 – Telford.

37660 – Kingsport.

37659 – Jonesborough.

37664 – Kingsport.

37618 – Bluff City.

37642 – Church Hill.

37617 – Blountville.

37620 – Bristol.

37645 – Mt. Carmel.

37731 – Eidson.

37786 – Piney Flats.

37665 – Kingsport.

24210 – Abingdon.

The warm markets are:

24211 – Abingdon.

37658 – Hampton.

24202 – Bristol.

The list rounds out the cool markets:

24236 – Damascus.

37811 – Mooresburg.

24244 – Duffield.

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