Johnson City’s Emerging Housing Market Index plunges, Kingsport-Bristol’s lot improves

2-minutes, 13- second read
Larger housing markets replaced secondary and tertiary markets in the Wall Street Journal-Realtor.com winter Emerging Markets Index. At the same time, vacation destinations that reflect the remote work realities also increased in rank.

Those moves saw the Johnson City metro area’s index plummet from a 9th in the nation ranking to 40th. At the same time, Kingsport-Bristol’s rank increased from 36th in the nation to 26th.

The index ​analyzes key housing market data, as well as economic vitality and lifestyle metrics, to surface emerging housing markets that offer a high quality of life and are expected to see future home price appreciation.

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla. had the Winter Index’s top spot, followed by North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla and Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Here’s how markets are ranked. The index evaluates the 300 most populous core-based statistical areas for eight indicators across two broad categories: real estate market (50%) and economic health and quality of life (50%). Each market is ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 according to the category indicators. The overall index is based on the weighted sum of these rankings. The real estate market category indicators are  demand (16.6%). Demand is based on average unique listing viewers per property; real estate supply (16.6%), median days on market, median listing price trend (16.6%). The economic and quality of life category indicators are unemployment (6.25%); wages (6.251%); regional price parities (6.25%); the share of foreign-born (6.25%); small businesses (6.25%); amenities (6.25%), measured as per capita “everyday splurge” stores in an area; commute (6.25%); and estimated effective real estate taxes (6.25%).

The Tri-Cities’ birth and death rates have been moving in opposition for more than a decade. That means attracting new residents is required to sustain or grow the population.

Both Tri-Cities metro areas ranked in the top 50 for the summer and fall indexes. They’re still in the top 50 but Johnson City’s drop out of the top 10 takes some of the zing out of destination notoriety. It’s a big deal because the Tri-Cities depends on attracting new residents to grow or sustain its population base. The region’s death rate has exceeded the birth rate for over a decade, and like many other areas there’s a steady stream of people who leave every year. Many of those leaving the region are recent graduates looking for better jobs or more opportunities in larger areas like Knoxville, Chattanooga, or Nashville. That out-migration accounts for an average of three residents a day.

Back of the envelope calculations based on the components of population change show that the Tri-Cities must attract 4.1 new residents every day to maintain the 2020 census population status quo.

The metro area under the most demographic pressure is Kingsport-Bristol. The four-county area needs three new residents every day to maintain the population status quo. The Johnson City metro area’s daily new resident growth benchmark is 1.2 people per day.

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