Tri-Cities 2020 commercial real estate transactions up

Don Fenley 

     Office, industrial, vacant land deals were market’s leaders

It wasn’t a big increase, but during a year that saw the worst crash since the Great Depression, the local commercial real estate market posted a small 2020 transactions gain.

There were 361 commercial sales and leases last year – one more than during 2019, according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) commercial transactions report.

“Vacant land, office, and industrial deals continued as market leaders and balanced the slum in retail-commercial and shopping center activity,” Cassie Petzoldt, chair of the NETAR Commercial Committee, said. Last year was also the continuation of a trend that saw more deals for less money, she added.

There were 37 more listings on NETAR’s Commercial Multiple Listing Service (CMLS)  and the regional Multiple Listing Service’s (MLS) during December than during December 2019 for a 4.8 percent year-over-year listing growth rate.

Fewer monthly average listings in each of the CMLS commercial sectors last year than in 2019 was the norm for last year. Flex does not categorize its listing. There were 76 fewer Flex commercial listings in December than December 2019.

Web traffic for CMLS was down by 15 percent in December. At the same time, one-on-one inquiries continued to increase. According to local commercial Realtors. There has also been an increase in activity – especially in Kingsport restaurant venues – from New York and California investors.

The 2021 outlook for commercial real estate is for continued activity in the land, office, and industrial sectors. There hasn’t been much new construction for these properties, so relocation to accommodate post-pandemic business and renovations are big factors.

Warehousing should also be a high-interest sector as the e-commercial firms continue to improve their last-mile infrastructure.

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