By DON FENLEY
TRI-CITIES, Tenn. – The Greeneville metro area is the current regional affordable housing market hot sport. That, and its status of having the best 12-month market share sales distribution in all price bands up to $800,000, is making it the housing market to watch.
According to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s Homeownership Affordability Monitor, Greene County’s February buyers had the lowest monthly mortgage payment in the region and were spending 24.5% of their income on housing.
Greeneville’s metro area had only affordable housing ranking among the counties in the region’s two Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greeneville Micropolitan Statistical area.
The affordability standard used is spending no more than 30% of a person’s or family’s income on housing. Those spending more are considered housing burdened. When spending reaches half of income, they are considered severely burdened. The monitor’s rankings and how much a typical buyer spends on housing varies each month with changes in the median price of housing in each area, the mortgage rate and how much buyers spend to lock-in a deal.
Here’s the most current Census data on how much owners and renters pay for housing. Since that data was collected home prices and rents have continued increasing faster than wages. The number of people who rent instead of buying has also increased.
Up to 29.9%
Owners – 54,570 – 73%
Renters – 29,846 – 55%
30% to 34.9%
Owners – 5,021 – 7%
Renters – 4,121 – 8%
35% and more
Owners – 15,396 – 21%
Renters – 20,167 – 37%
While the Greeneville metro area is basking in the affordability spotlight, Sullivan County has assumed the dubious distinctions of being the area’s least affordable market, closely followed by Washington and Unicoi counties.
The region’s housing market’s lack of inventory and high consumer demand have driven local prices to record highs since the pandemic. Compared to US averages, the Appalachian Region is still very affordable, but prices have pushed many locals – especially first-time buyers and those needing workforce housing – out of the market.
The year-over-year effect on a typical mortgage in the Johnson City metro area has been an increase of $458 a month on the typical single-family mortgage. During that period, the typical mortgage was $1,633, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank.
The year-over-year increase in the Kingsport-Bristol metro area is $480. The annual typical mortgage is $1,575.
The Greeneville’s metro area’s average increase has been $164. The annual typical mortgage was $1,310.