Is there a housing price bubble? Chattanooga home prices jump more than most cities

Experts minimize changes of repeat of 2009 housing collapse

Staff Photo by Dave Flessner / A home in Hamilton on Hunter, shown Saturday, is listed for sale among more than 1,600 houses listed by Chattanooga Realtors, or more than double the number of home listings at the start of 2022. Home inventory levels have increased as home prices have encouraged homeowners to list their properties for sale. But higher mortgage rates may curb sales this year.

Chattanooga median home prices, which peaked in December 2006 before the housing bubble at $144,780, regained their losses within the next decade and rose to a median price of $274,318 this year, according to a new study by the trade publication Construction Coverage.

Home prices in the Chattanooga area have jumped 29% in inflation-adjusted dollars over the past decade and a half. That places Chattanooga among the top 14% of all major U.S. cities for home appreciation since the last major economic downturn.

Although high interest rates this year are projected to slow both sales and price gains in the residential market, experts aren't expecting a housing slump similar to what happened in the last major economic downturn in 2008 and 2009 when a housing bubble burst in some markets.

"While prices have risen sharply in the last two years, the increases are not excessive in light of historical trends and inflation," said Jonathan Jones of Construction Coverage. "After the housing crash, it took a decade for the median home price in the U.S. to catch up to its previous peak in nominal dollars. But when factoring in the rate of inflation over time, home prices did not match their pre-Great Recession peak until the middle of 2021."

In Tennessee, home prices have outpaced most of the nation over the past decade, however. Nashville had the biggest inflation-adjusted gains, jumping by 61%% to a median price of $452,102. Median home prices rose in Knoxville by an inflation-adjusted 34.8% to $313,461.

Cities with the biggest home price gains

Among the 301 major metro areas in the U.S., those cities with the biggest inflation-adjusted price gains over the past decade and a half are:

1 Austin, Texas, up 81% to median price of $593,537

2. Logan, Idaho, up 68.8% to median price of $478,516

3. Ogden, Utah, up 64.9% to a median price of $536,205

4. Dallas, up 64.8% to a median price of $397,605

5. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, up 63.7% to a median price of $587,365

6. Twin Falls, Idaho, up 63.1% to a median price of $387,131

7. Nashville, up 61% to a median price of $452,102

8. Idaho Falls, Idaho, up 61% to a median price of $412,004

9. Boise City, Idaho, up 58% to a median price of $517,534

10. Denver, up 54.7% to a median price of $646,474.

Source: Construction Coverage

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter at @dflessner1