Why is the Knox County housing market soaring?

Published: May. 24, 2018 at 8:34 AM EDT
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Houses in the Knox County real estate market are selling quick and because of that, experts say prices are soaring.

Realtors say we all know East Tennessee is a great place to live. A growing downtown scene with suburbs not far from the mountains and lakes, but agents say the secret is out.

Real estate agent, Jim Bristow, says folks from all over the country want a slice of this kind of paradise.

"A lot of the buyers are not from Knoxville, not even from Tennessee. As a matter of fact, I was working with some buyers yesterday who were from Ohio wanting to move to Tennessee because of the lake life," said Bristow.

Knowing that, several East Tennesseans are hoping to cash in, selling their houses for top dollar. Bristow says it's still not enough. The demand for homes is so high, if no more homes were to hit the market in the next two months, there would essentially be no more homes to buy.

"Knoxville as a whole, houses are selling at about 99% of their asking price," Bristow said.

The average three bedroom, two bath home is selling for about $257,000 in Knox County, according to realtors. Bring that same scenario downtown and Bristow says, count on doubling that to more than half a million dollars.

But, realtors say there are ways to avoid price hikes.

"If you look at certain zip codes like North, East Knoxville and Fountain City, three bed, two bath houses are averaging about $185,000, so there are some houses that can be had below the average prices," he said.

Due to the active market, folks have also been seen switching career paths. Bristow said there are just about as many realtors in East Tennessee as there are houses for sale.

"That ratio is about 1.6 homes per realtor. So, it's a really tight market for people buying and people like myself trying to pick up listings and sell houses," he said.

So, how do you know you've hired the right person to sell your house? Bristow says communication is key.

"With this market as hot as it is, multiple offer situations are not rare, they're happening every day. Some houses are pending the same day they come onto the market. So, you definitely want to be sure your agent is a good communicator and set expectations as to how you want to be communicated with and how often," Bristow said.

Another thing Bristow says is driving the market is the U.S. economy. He says the stock market is doing well and people feel wealthier and comfortable buying a second home.