Rental market is tight, but vacancy rates vary

Don Fenley 

Does anyone have or know of a rental coming on the market rental?

You don’t have to look hard to find rental requests on social media. It’s also common when Realtors® talk to colleagues because the single-family and townhome rental market can be just as tough as those looking as affordable homes for sale is for buyers.

ATTOM’s  third quarter report of pre-foreclosures and single-family rentals cite two Bristol zip codes with the most Tri-Cities rentals. ATTOM is a top provider of land, property and real estate data –

  • Bristol VA’s 24,201 has 4,456 non-owner-occupied investment properties and 3.8% (169) of them are not occupied.
  • Bristol TN’s 38,335 has 3,519 non-owner-occupied investment properties and 5.2% (182) of them are vacant.

The zip code with the highest vacancy rate is Kingsport’s 37665. There are 667 rentals in that zip code and 11.1% (74) are vacant.

The report lists data for 41 zip codes in the Tri-Cities region. There are 26 zip codes with a vacancy rate of less than 1%. That’s a little over 60% of the single-family rental market and it does not include apartment complexes. But those zips do have a vacancy rate that is comparable – or less than – some of the region’s most popular apartment communities. For example – Town Parks Lofts in Kingsport and several others area still working from a waiting list.

The current vacancy rate cited by the Tri-Cities Apartment Association is 2%.

ATTOM’s report lists 12 zip codes with single-family market vacancy rates that are higher than the Apartment Association report.

Another report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) puts the vacancy rate of multi-families at 5.9% in the Johnson City metro area and 5.5% in the Kingsport-Bristol metro area. That Q2 data includes all multi-family options. That includes duplexes and small apartment complexes that are not part of the Apartment Association count.

The NAR report says overall demand in the Kingsport-Bristol metro area is weaker than it is nationwide and stronger than national demand in the Johnson City metro.

It should be noted that those reports and lists are not all-conclusive.

The Apartment Association’s list is for its reporting members.

NAR and ATTOM’s lists are more inclusive.

 ATTOM’s lists uses tax-assessor data.

NAR’s report comes from its’ Research Department use of Census and other proprietary data bases. ATTOM’s report can be found at

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 1,800+ 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