KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The National Association of Realtors called Knoxville one of the Top 10 "hidden" gems of the housing market.
This news comes as buyers face one of the most competitive housing markets the Scruffy City has ever seen — as if the once "hidden gem" has been discovered.
"We've been found out. People are coming here in droves, and I think the days of a slow housing market in Knoxville are over," said Hancen Sale, the Governmental Affairs and Policy Director at Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.
U-Haul rated Tennessee as the number one state people moved to in 2021. Knoxville's housing market showed the effects of that. It's rare to see a "For Sale" sign as you drive down neighborhood roads.
"The inventory is super low. It's stayed low for quite a while now, and we don't really think that's going to change in the foreseeable future," Sale said.
The low inventory has been a driving factor in the increased home prices in Knoxville.
According to Realtor.com, which monitors the prices of homes listed online, the cost of housing in Knoxville increased 17.6% in 2021.
KAAR predicted those home prices could climb another 5-8% in 2022.
"It's not reasonable to think that prices are going to decline in the near term. And in fact, we really think they're going to grow pretty quickly in the first half of the year in particular, and then we might see some moderation in the second half of the year," Sale said.
Rising interest rates could also make buying a home less desirable to buyers in 2022.
"There's only been a few instances in the past century where we've seen interest rates rise so much, so quickly. And so that's going to have a big impact on affordability," Sale said.
However, Sale said potential buyers shouldn't be discouraged.
"It's still an investment, it's still a good investment and Knoxville is only growing. So, you know, there's little risk in buying a home at this point," Sale said.