The cost of homes

The cost of homes

March 31st, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Fyi2013

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

Home prices have rebounded from their recession lows three years ago in and around Chattanooga, but local prices for new and existing homes still remain about one-fourth less than the national average, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Cheaper land and labor costs compared with much of the country have kept home prices affordable in the Chattanooga region. But, as in all markets, where and what you buy will shape the price of what you pay.

With its diverse geology and geography, the Chattanooga region offers all manner of housing options from urban lofts to rural farms. Luxury homes populate mountain vistas, lakefront home sites or popular golf courses and scenic, wooded properties.

Generally, home prices were less south of the border in Georgia, where land prices and property tax rates are less. But Georgia does have a state income tax on payroll income for its residents, which Tennessee does not, and Northwest Georgia doesn't have as many subdivisions or historic houses from which to choose.

Mountaintop living tends to elevate home prices in the Chattanooga area. The highest median home prices in 2012 were on Lookout Mountain, where the typical house sold last year for $331,000, and Signal Mountain, where the median price was $277,700 last year.

Among the 5,496 houses sold by Chattanooga-area Realtors last year, home prices were generally lowest in the inner-city neighborhoods of St. Elmo, Avondale and Highland Park and highest on Lookout and Signal mountains.

Contact staff writer Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.