How to Bring Tennessee Into the Future Without Pricing Out Local Residents

Realtors make sure that residents and newcomers can enjoy the tremendous economic and cultural opportunities that Tennessee's growth can bring.

Published in The Tennessean

Americans are flocking to the Volunteer State. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Tennessee's population grew at one of the fastest rates in the nation last year.

Across the state and in Nashville, local leaders are revitalizing main streets, rebuilding infrastructures and creating new parks and attractive downtown districts. With this growth comes a number of noteworthy benefits, but the added attraction of living here also means real estate has become more and more expensive.

Of course this is good for sellers, but it can price some people− both longtime residents and those looking to relocate− out of the market. This is when an intimate knowledge of our local markets becomes so valuable.

Realtors, members of the National Association of Realtors, can help balance these competing forces. They're working every day to secure the most competitive and efficient markets possible for buyers and sellers alike.

68 downtowns across Tennessee will be revamped

Private and public money is pouring into Tennessee. With that comes more jobs, higher living standards and more thriving communities.

Another $8 billion in federal money is on its way to the state, compliments of the bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law last year.

This new investment is not just earmarked for the state's biggest cities. The Tennessee Department of Economic Development highlighted 68 downtown areas they plan to revamp.  

To take just one example, Nashville's downtown Fifth and Broadway mixed-use development project occupies 6.2 acres and costs more than $450 million. It's help push the Music City up many lists of the top residential locations in America.

Realtors have pressed hard for this investment in order to bring refurbished roads, sidewalks and parks into the communities where they live and work. And they're augmenting this investment with money of their own.

For instance, East Nashville residents recently used a grant from the National Association of Realtors to transform a dangerous intersection to a new pedestrian walkway that connects a public library with neighboring buildings. 

With Nashville's mortgage rates nearly 3% higher and home prices rising about 20% in the past year, borrowing costs have increased more than 60% locally. This increase is making the American Dream of homeownership seem further out of reach for countless Tennesseans and potential residents.

Statewide increase in real estate

Over 20% of households statewide can no longer afford to buy the median-price home in Nashville. Similar trends are emerging in Knoxville.

The Knoxville Community Development Corporation is working on over a dozen new development projects across the city − attempting to keep up with the growing number of people moving to the city. 

Real estate professionals who are Realtors are here to help people navigate these headwinds. Their knowledge of local markets and individual sellers may help their clients find comparable properties nearby or negotiate lower prices.

They can also help buyers take advantage of many loan-assistance programs that may not be well-known or may be confusing to apply for− like the Veterans Affairs Home Loan Program or the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. 

Tennessee is booming. Realtors can help make sure that longtime residents and newcomers alike can enjoy the tremendous economic and cultural opportunities that the state's growth can bring.