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Kingsport-Bristol ranked 9th in the U.S. by Emerging Market Index – Johnson City off the list – donfenley.com

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By DON FENLEY

Kingsport-Bristol is now again ranked in the top 10 emerging housing markets in the United States. It’s the second time that’s happened, but this time there’s a big difference in the rankings.


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That difference is a change in the Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Spring Emerging Housing Markets Index’s methodology that saw the Johnson City metro area drop out of the rankings.

Johnson City didn’t appear because the index now analyzes the top 200 markets. Previous indices reviewed the 300 most populus markets in the nation. Although the Tri-Cities region is one marketplace and used to be designated as a single Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau carved it into two MSAs a little over two decades ago. Since then, the Johnson City metro has dropped out of many analyzes based on metro population.

Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) President Michelle Davis said the Emerging Markets Index change weights the size of the market more than the dynamics of the housing economy.

Kingsport-Bristol is currently the 167th largest MSA in the nation, with 313,025 residents. The Johnson City MSA is 221st in the nation, with 213,128 residents. If combined, the Tri-Cities market would be the 109th largest MSA in the nation.

The index’s new methodology will probably cause some confusion, since Johnson City no longer has the marketing boost of being ranked among the nation’s top emerging markets by one of the nation’s top business journals. The Catch-22 is the Spring Index doesn’t reflect the viability or market stability of one of the region’s top performing housing markets and population growth centers. During the past 12 months, several of the Johnson City metro area’s housing and economic metrics have been more closely aligned with the Knoxville metro area’s performance trends than the rest of the Tri-Cities region.

During the first quarter of this year, the median sales price of a home in the Johnson City metro area was $289,000, up 12.7% from last year. There were 519 sales, down 2.8% from last year as the metro area’s and region’s market continued receding to a pre-pandemic level.

During the same period, the median price in Kingsport-Bristol was $241,750, up 2.9% from last year. There were 730 sales up 8.8% from last year.

Combined, the two local metro areas, and their sister counties that are not included in the MSA counts, continue to be one of the most affordable and stable housing markets in East Tennessee.

The change in the index rankings doesn’t diminish the fact that, in many ways, the Kingsport-Bristol MSA has outperformed the Johnson City market for several years. Much of that was the growth of sales and prices that can be attributed to more Kingsport-Bristol inventory. And, much of the inventory has been increased new housing developments by D.R. Horton and Kingsport builders. That inventory imbalance is stabilizing.

The Spring WSJ/Realtor.com Housing Market Ranking looked at the 200 largest metro areas in the country and ranked them based on a variety of economic and lifestyle factors, including housing supply, housing demand, property taxes, unemployment and proximity to popular retail and restaurant chains such as Starbucks, Costco, and Home Depot.

For the first time, the ranking also looked at the percentage of homes in each market that are at risk of being affected by extreme heat, wind, air quality, flood and wildfire over the next 30 years.

Each market is ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 according to the category indicators, and the overall index is based on the weighted sum of these rankings.

The real-estate market category indicators are: real estate demand (15%), based on average pageviews per property; real estate supply (15%), based on median days on market for real estate listings; median listing price trend (10%), based on annual price growth over the quarter; property taxes (10%) and climate risk to properties (10%).

The economic and quality of life category indicators are: unemployment (5%); wages (5%); regional price parities (5%); share of foreign born (5%); small businesses (5%); amenities (10%), measured as the average number of stores per specific “everyday splurge” category (coffee, upscale/specialty grocery, home improvement, fitness) per capita in an area, and commute time (5%).

Categories: REAL ESTATE

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