Editorial: The future looks bright for the entire region | editorial
With inflation at its highest level in 40 years, the economy is in turmoil, with some areas faring much better than others. It seems that Kingsport falls into the “performs much better than others” category.
As we reported in our Progress issue, a year ago Kingsport found itself in a seller’s real estate market where properties in all conditions were selling quickly and often for more than the asking price. A year later it’s still the same. Even with the addition of new housing units in the pipeline, not much has changed.
“It’s a crazy seller’s market,” said Colette George, a broker at Blue Ridge Properties, Sullivan County Commissioner and Kingsport’s vice mayor.
“I’ve been doing this for 14 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ginger Nixon, an agent at Greater Impact Realty.
The history of home sales in Kingsport is something of a record-breaking one, George and Nixon said, including quick and multiple offers, many above list price, offering cash rather than financing and forgoing inspections and appraisals.
“Any halfway decent property will be sold immediately,” George said. “Every real estate agent has a list of people trying to buy houses.”
More than 2,500 homes are currently being built in Kingsport, a number more than four times what it was at almost the same time last year. Another 1,000 are possible in pending development. But wherever you go locally, progress has erupted.
But it’s not just the housing market and it’s not just Kingsport.
As Rogersville businesses improve facades through a grant from the Tennessee Main Street Program, new businesses are in the works, after opening 12 last year that created 52 new jobs. The city also continues to work on preserving the Powel Law Office, the community’s oldest wooden building, after working to shore up the foundation last year.
Church Hill is focused on the new recreation facility at Holliston Mills which will include a new sports complex for parks and recreation. Last month, the Church Hill Mayor and Alderman Council voted to change the size of the city’s grants because progress on the facility did not meet city leaders’ proposals. The city plans to construct a kind of first development on the property.
The city also voted in January to withdraw from the joint parks and recreation commission with Surgoinsville and Mount Carmel within a year. However, Church Hill officials said children in the other two cities can participate in Church Hill activities for the same price as children who live there. The city also plans to spend about $1.7 million to upgrade the sewage system, according to Church Hill Mayor Dennis Deal.
The city also intends to complete an approximately $1.8 million capital improvement project for the sewage system, funded entirely by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Housewright said the city is updating the sewage system to meet current regulations and be prepared for regulations that may be added in the future. The city also added a disc golf course in the local park and is exploring the possibility of converting an old tennis court into a pickleball court.
Across the state line, Scott County’s plans for this year include its courthouse. Whether it’s construction or renovation, it’s high on the county’s to-do list. The county requires more than 65,000 square feet for its various departments, according to a space requirements study, and currently offers just over 21,000 square feet.
Wise County offers a good real estate market for people and businesses looking to locate in a rural area. Property values have risen following a recently completed revaluation of the county’s various commercial, agricultural, industrial and residential properties.
There are very good prospects in those parts, not so much because of the national economy but nonetheless.