By DON FENLEY
TRI-CITIES, Tenn. – Everyone knows Johnson City is the region’s top housing market. That’s a fact. But last month its 82 sales were second place to the 95 in Kingsport. Where it did shine was at the top of the market’s price bands.
That’s worth mentioning because it’s a reminder that the reality of real estate is community markets are hyper local. Consumers and sales move to where there’s the most inventory and best deals – even when the distance is only a couple of miles.
A review of the largest number of sales by price range among the region’s city and community markets tells the real-time story of what is selling the most and where.
Although the regional median price for an existing single-family home is just below $250,000 record set May last year that’s not where the sales action was in April. Remember, the median sales price is the market’s middle point. Half of the homes sold were for more than the median and half were for less.
The market’s sweet spot is the $300K-to-$400K price range. And Kingsport was at the top of last month’s leaderboard in that price range. Here’s how the local markets stacked up in the sweet spot based on the number of April sales.
Kingsport – 29
Greeneville – 14
Jonesborough – 10
Gray – 9
Blountville – 6
Rogersville – 5
Bristol VA – 3
Surgoinsville – 2
How about the $200K to $250K affordability market? It gets a lot of attention because it’s haven for most first-time and working-class buyers.
Bristol TN – 5
Elizabethton – 4
Church Hill and Mt. Carmel – 3 each
Bluff City, Bulls Gap, Erwin, and Mountain City – 2 each.
But the sales everyone talks about are in the luxury market. Johnson City had 14 sales in the $500K and up market last month and Piney Flats had 3. And how about those Boone’s lake sales? Many see them as the jewels in the local market’s crown? April’s median price in that market was $551,750. There were five lake sales last month in the $500K and up price range and nine so far this year.
Looking at home sales this way just emphasizes how hyper-local the housing economy is and while there are some constants in the hot-spot class, while things can and do change by the month.