Almost a third of local single-family residences are rental units

Don Fenley 

Nearly one of every three single-family homes or condos in the region monitored by NETAR during the fourth quarter was a non-owner-occupied investment property. Of those 60,463 properties, 3,460 were vacant, giving the region a 5.7% vacancy rate.

That’s slightly better than the Tennessee rate but higher than the U.S. 3.39% rate. 

A drill-down on the investment property vacancy rate to the zip code level illustrates a real estate truism. It’s all about location. For example, renter occupancy in Piney Flats, Limestone, and Johnson City’s 37616 zip code is at or near full capacity. That’s not the case Kingsport’s Lynn Garden’s zip code, Hampton, Rogersville’s 37859 zone, and Chuckey. The rates in those zip codes are in the 15% to 10.9% range. 

Overall, investment properties in 16 or the 40 local zip codes have a higher vacancy rate than the regional 5.7% rate.  

Although there is no precise count, some investors are taking advantage of the sellers’ market are no longer landlords. That’s especially true for those who are past the age when they can take care of the property maintenance themselves. Chalk that up to the labor shortage. 

The single-family and multi-family markets are just as hot at the new home and resale market. And there are reportedly several build-to-rent developments in the planning stages. The market has a long way to go before working itself out of the current housing shortage. 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,600+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at