Tri-Cities area property taxes up, single-family home growth rate declines

Property taxes increased in six of seven Tri-Cities area counties included in Attom Data Solutions 2018 Property Tax Analysis for 2018. The exception was Washington Co. VA. The total estimated value of the 240,996 local single-family homes included in the analysis was $29.7 billion.

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Data behind Attom’s report also shows the growth of new single-family homes in the region was slower last year. There were 1,253 more single-family homes at the end of 2018 than 2017, down from the increase of 2,310 in 2017 over 2016. Those single-family home totals and increasing sales of existing home illustrate why the region’s inventory of home for sale dropped to record lows in the last year-and-a-half. The pre-2017 months of inventory was in the seven months plus range. Last year it dropped into the four months of inventory range. And when you drill down to individual markets, it was in the three months range in several counties. Six months of inventory is typically used to describe normal market conditions. Months of inventory is the number of months it would take to exhaust active listings at the current month’s sales rate.


The Tennessee county with the highest average estimated single-family home value was Shelby ($521,459). The lowest was Cumberland ($52,398). The state median was $148,837. The U.S. average was $300,724, and Tennessee’s average was $169,551.

Last year’s total property tax for the seven counties was $199 million.  It was 0.01% higher than in 2017 – a big drop from the 6.1% 2017-2016 increase. That change is more representative of a slower single-family home growth rate than higher property taxes.


While no one enjoys paying higher property taxes, last year’s local changes were minor compared to the national average increase everywhere except Greene Co. The year-over-year change in Greene was double the 3% U.S. average increase. Tri-Cities area residents have a very small property tax bite when compared to the national average. The report analyzed property tax data collected from county tax assessor offices nationwide at the state, metro and county levels along with estimated market values of single-family homes calculated using an automated valuation model (AVM). The effective tax rate was the average annual property tax expressed as a percentage of the average estimated market value of homes in each geographic area.

The highest effective tax rate in Tennessee last year was Shelby Co (1.3%). The lowest was Cumberland Co. (0.25%). The median – the rate where half are higher, and half are lower – was 0.58%. The U.S. rate was 1.16%. Tennessee’s rate was 0.65%.

The average U.S. property taxes of $3,498 for a single-family home in 2018 was up 3% from the average property tax of $3,399 in 2017, and the effective property tax rate of 1.16% in 2018 was down from the effective property tax rate of 1.17% in 2017.


While all counties except Greene had more single-family homes than they did in 2017 the growth rate in every county except Johnson and Washington Co. TN declined from the 2017 over 2016 rate. The largest county markets – Washington Co. TN and Sullivan accounted for the most single-family homes last year, but their year-over-year growth rates were opposites. Sullivan Co. had more single-family resales than Washington Co. last year, but its single-family growth rate was half was it was in 2017. Washington Co. managed a .01% year-over-year improvement. Although Johnson Co. has the fewest number of single-family homes among the locals in the analysis, it had the best 2018 year-over-year growth rate (2.3%) which was a 1.6% improvement over 2017’s rate.


The effective tax rate is the average annual property tax expressed as a percentage of the average estimated market value of homes in each of the local counties.

That rate increased in every county except Washington Co. VA. With the exception of Carter Co., the biggest year-over-year increase came in the small markets – Carter, Greene and Hawkins. The single largest year-over-year increase was in Hawkins Co. The two largest county housing markets – Sullivan and Washington Co. TN, had the same year-over-year increase.

Thee counties – Sullivan, Washington TN and Washington VA – have effective tax rates that are above the state median rate.

“Property taxes levied on homeowners rose again in 2018 across most of the country,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer for ATTOM Data Solutions. “While many states across the country have imposed caps on how much taxes can go up, which probably contributed to a slower increase in 2018 versus 2017. There are still many factors at play that can contribute to local property tax hikes, and without major changes in the way a community runs public services, tax rates must rise to pay for them.”