New home permits having best year in over a decade

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 The Tri-Cities is having its best year for new home permits in over a decade. So far this year, it has the second-best growth rate in East Tennessee. There was also a substantial increase in high-end home permits.

Washington County is still the dominant market for new home permits in the Tri-Cities, but its growth rate has slipped to last place in the seven-county region. Its growth rate for high-end home permits also lagged five other area counties. This is the same trend that has occurred in the existing home market as the housing expansion moved into the submarkets.

During the first nine months of this year, the number of area new permits had increased 13.5% from the previous year, according to the Market Edge’s Building Permits Trends Report, a building permit compilation service based in Knoxville, Tenn. The firm’s data has been called the best in the state by Dr. Bill Fox, director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economics Research at UT. It has that distinction because the firm visits and compiles data from code enforcement offices instead of relying on government reports.


The five-county Chattanooga region led East Tennessee with a 20% increase in permits. That aligns with year-over-year population growth rates where it also led the region. The new permit total so far this year is 2,069.

There were 994 new permits in the seven-county Tri-Cities region.

The nine-county Knoxville region new permits were up 12% from the previous year. It led the area in the number of permits – 3,942.

Here’s how the new permits and growth rate from last year look for local counties.

  • Carter – 79, up 14%.
  • Greene – 174, up 24%
  • Hawkins – 18, up 50%
  • Sullivan – 276, up 20%
  • Washington Co. Tenn. – 336, down 5%
  • Scott Co Va. – 19 up 111%
  • Washington Co. Va. – 92, up 46%

Supply chain issues and a labor shortage have slowed new home sales and construction so far this year. Demand continues to be higher than supply.


Knoxville has seen the largest number of high-end home permits so far this year – 544. That’s an 81.3% increase from last year.

Chattanooga’s high-end permit growth rate was 83.7% for the 136 new high-end home permits.

New permits in the Tri-Cities total 129 so far this year, up 41% from last year.

The Market Edge defines a high-end home permit as 4,000 or more square feet or a $400,000 or more construction costs.

Here’s how the number of high-end permits looks for local counties so far this year.

  • Carter – 13, 85.7%
  • Greene – 22, up 175%
  • Hawkins – 0 – 0
  • Sullivan 29 – up 26.1%
  • Washington Co. Tenn. – 44 – up 10%
  • Scott Co. Va. – 2, up 200%
  • Washington Co. Va. – 19, up 41.8%

Permits for high-end homes align with the increased sale of Tri-Cities luxury homes. During the 12 months ending Nov. 10, sales of existing homes with a price tag of $1 million or more were up 260% from the previous year. And the top of the market’s active inventory was up 72%.



Categories: REAL ESTATE