What Homes Cost: Downtown living more viable than ever

What Homes Cost: Downtown living more viable than ever

March 27th, 2011 by Ellis Smith in Chattanooganow2011


Homes sold - 370

Total sales - $36,867,715

Average sale price - $99,642

Median sale price - $35,000

Source: Multiple Listing Service, 2010

Gradual gentrification and urban renewal have brought new life to the old places in Chattanooga, especially the North Shore and Main Street districts, officials say.

"In the beginning, we had to educate people about downtown living," said Darlene Brown, managing broker at Real Estate Partners. "Now people are coming to us and they're looking to live downtown."

New jobs, new money and new residents have given the downtown housing market a shot in the arm.

The number of consumers looking to downsize from single-family homes in outlying areas and take advantage of the premium amenities available in the city "is only increasing," said Brown, who specializes in downtown real estate.

"We have buyers who have the availability to pull the triggers, but up until recently they've been holding onto that money because of the economy," she said.

The downtown area supports a variety of living options, though the bulk of what's left in the most sought-after areas is of the high-end variety, said Vicki Trapp, a Crye-Leike broker.

Renters can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $1,000 per month on average to live downtown, she said. And buyers can pay from $100,000 to more than $1 million for a well-appointed home, depending on square footage and location.

A consumer who wants the convenience and luxury of living in a downtown core can find no better place for the money than Chattanooga, she said, though the area is still evolving.

The downtown core lacks a mainstream grocery store within walking distance for many residents, and parking options remain limited.

Still, steady downtown growth will encourage businesses to add more amenities and options targeted at city residents, according to Multiple Listing Service President Dan Griess.

"There are still a lot of empty condos down there, but I think downtown is continuing its resurgence," Griess said. "Rebirth is a slow process."