Tri-Cities area home sales up 10.6%, prices up 16.2%

Don Fenley 

The benchmark for area home sales and prices moved up a few notches in December. Closings on single-family homes and condominiums were up 10.6% from last year. The median sales price rose 16.2% during the year, and the average sales price was up 18.7%, according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) Home Sales Report. 

“December sales were barely higher than they were in November, but not price growth,” NETAR President Rick Chantry said. Almost half of those who bought in December paid the median list price or more. Currently, consumers are divided between those who think they should wait and those who are convinced mortgages rates will increase and want to get the lowest rate possible, he added. 

There were 808 closings in December moving the annual total to 9,523. December’s median sales price was $219,993, and the annual median price was $197,500. Last month’s average sales price was $255,686. It was skewed higher by the sale increased sales in the $400,000 and up price range. The annual sales price of $239,027 was up 18.7% from 2020. 

Sales growth rates in the region’s primary cities varied from 22.7% in Elizabethton to 2.6% in Bristol, Tenn. The annual median price growth rates ranged from 60% in Mountain City to a 2.6% decline in Bristol, Va. The price growth rate in Mountain City was skewed higher by a surge in higher-price and luxury home sales. 

Inventory for the NE Tenn. and SW Va. region monitored by NETAR’s Home Sales Report began the new year with over 300 fewer homes for sale than last year. That’s 1.3-months of inventory. “It’s the tightest we’ve ever seen,” Chantry said. Inventory had been slowly increasing, but new pending sales exceeded new listings during the fourth quarter. New listings typically increase after the first of the year as sellers begin marketing for the prime home buying and selling season.  

The typical home sale that closed in December was on the market for 55 days. It has been slowly increasing from 47 days since May. Time on market and new approved contracts are two primary demand metrics. Since new contracts are accepted 30 days to two months before closing, they offer some insight into the direction existing home sales will take. When the time a home spends on the market increases, it indicates consumer demand is softening. When it decreases, it’s a signal demand is increasing. Chantry said it’s not unusual to see demand weaken during the holiday season.

Here’s how the area primary city housing market performed in 2021: 

Bristol TN – Sales 435, up 2.6%. Median sales price $165,000, up 10.1% 

Bristol VA – Sales 167, up 9.9%. Median sales price $209,500, down 2.6% 

Elizabethton – Sales 518, up 22.7%. Median sales price $174,700, up 17.3% 

Erwin – Sales 135, up 7.1%. Median sales price $163,000, up 8.7% 

Greeneville – Sales 630, up 8.6%. Median sales price $209,500, up 22.9% 

Johnson City – Sales 1,437, up 9.9%. Median sales price $217,000, up 17.3% 

Jonesborough – Sales 588, up 13.3%. Median sales price $285,000, up 20.1% 

Kingsport – Sales 1,771, up 10.7%. Median sales price $190,000, up 13.1% 

Rogersville – Sales 257, up 19.5%. Median sales price $173,300, up 15.5% 

Mountain City – Sales 147, up 12.2%. Median sales price $240,000, up 60% 

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