Housing: Living large in the Tri-Cities picks up steam

Stock photo.

One segment of the Tri-Cities housing market that doesn’t get much attention is the very top of the market. But housing for the folks living large in the Tri-Cities is on the upswing.

Realtor.com is currently showing 43 local homes with a listing price of $1 million or more. Most of them (12) are in Sullivan Co. followed by nine Washington Co. TN listings.

And then there are the new high-end residential permits have been pulled so far this year.  During the first nine months of 2019, there were 72 new permits in the seven NE Tenn.-SW Va. counties monitored by The Market Edge. That’s one more than issued in all of 2018.

The Market Edge defines a high-end permit as one with a construction cost of $400,000 or more or 4,000, or more, square feet.

Here’s how this year’s permits shake out by county compared to the permit pulls during the first three quarters of 2018.

Carter – 4, up from 1

Greene – 10, up from 1

Hawkins – 0, unchanged

Sullivan – 23, up from 4

Washington Co. Tenn. – 29, up from 2

Scott Co. Va. – 0 – unchanged

Washington Co. Va. – 6, up from 3

When viewed as a percentage of new permits v. last year the Tri-Cities region outpaced the Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Asheville markets for high-end permits. Of course, the number of permits in those regions is greater than they were in the Tri-Cities, but Chattanooga was only one more than the Tri-Cities.

There’s a couple of reasons for the higher high-end growth rate in the Tri-Cities. One is the idea that the other markets peaked last year, and the Tri-Cities is still catching up. There’s probably some truth to that. But another reason that’s just as valid – if not more valid – is you can build more high-end home in the Tri-Cities than you can in the other markets for the same amount of money. And then there’s the cost of living, but that’s another story.

The resale market for high-end homes has seen a local improvement during the past year. Region-wide there were 16 sales of homes in the $800,000 and above price range during the 12 months ending on Dec. 10. Most of those sales (11) were in the Johnson City region, followed by three in the Bristol TN-VA region. The rest were in the Sullivan Co. area market.

Those sales have moved the high-end inventory’s absorption rate from 52 months to 35 months.

The top residential resale during the first nine months of this year was a 5-bedroom 11,346 sq. ft. home on 1 acre at the Virginian. It went for $2.25 million, according to the Appalachian Highlands Dashboard for Real Estate Analytics. The Dashboard is a new venture by Don Fenley, supported by TechPoint’s Austin Ramsey and TCI Group’s Nina Heffner, and underwritten by Jerry Petzoldt TCI Lifestyle Investments.

Realtor.com said the listings was 1,535.67% more expensive than nearby properties and had an original asking price of $2.85 million.

One noteworthy benchmark to this report is there are a little more than 6,000 households in the Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol TN-VA Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) with a median household income of $200,000 or more. That’s just shy of 7% of the seven-county region’s total occupied housing stock. The CSA comprises Carter, Unicoi, Washington, Hawkins and Sullivan counties in NE Tenn. and Scott and Washington counties in SW Va.

Categories: REAL ESTATE