Hamilton County property sales jump to record high last year

Photo by Dave Flessner / The 5 Points North Shore apartment complex on Cherokee Boulevard was among the major apartment complexes sold in Chattanooga last year in what was a record high year for property sales.

Property sales in Hamilton County jumped to an all-time high last year with national investment firms acquiring major apartment complexes and homebuyers buying a record number of houses during 2021.

Last year, $4.9 billion in real estate transfers were recorded, eclipsing the previous year's record high of $3.3 billion, according to property records filed with the Hamilton County Register of Deeds. A record high of $7.4 billion of mortgages, including new and refinanced deeds, also were filed in the county during 2021.

"Last year, there was a substantial increase in the sale of apartment complexes, which are large dollar deals," Hamilton County Register of Deeds Marc Gravitt said in a year-end report released Tuesday. "With the continued high demand for both commercial and residential real estate and low interest rates, Hamilton County's real estate market continues to be strong."

In 2021, all of the top 10 sales involved apartment complexes bought by investment companies or partnerships, most of which are based outside of Chattanooga.

"I think Chattanooga has proven itself as a great place to live and a great place to work, so we're seeing more people move and invest here as a result," said David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real estate in Chattanooga. "Plus, our real estate values compared with other Southeast markets like Atlanta, Nashville and Charlotte are still seen as very attractive and very affordable."

With interest rates near historic lows and many investors flush with cash from the elevated stock market and extra stimulus spending, Chattanooga's real estate market proved attractive for both national and local investors, DeVaney said.

DeVaney said Charter Real Estate had its best year ever in its 49-year history both in the number of commercial sales transactions and in the total dollar volume of such sales.

"It's been extremely exciting, and we continue to move just as fast as we can already this year, so it looks like 2022 may be comparable with 2021," DeVaney said.

Although final figures for 2021 have not yet been compiled by the Greater Chattanooga Realtors association, through November home sales by local Realtors were on pace to set another record high for the most houses sold in a calendar year. The median price of homes sold in November also was up 13.6% from a year earlier to a record high of $280,000.

Gravitt said his office recorded 81,286 documents during 2021, which is almost a 13% increase from the volume in 2020.

The state-mandated conveyance tax and mortgage taxes collected last year rose to a record $26.9 million, up 43% from the $18.8 million collected in such taxes during the previous record year in 2020.

The Register's Office remits payment to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, with a 2.4% share being retained by the Register's Office. Gravitt said his office retained $646,074 in fees, which were used for staff salaries and other operating costs.

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

Biggest property sales in 2021

All of the 10 biggest real estate sales in Hamilton County last year were apartment complexes.

1. Capital Square 1031, a Glen Allen, Va., real estate investment firm, bought the 280-unit One Riverside Apartments for $84.2 million.

2. Capital Square bought the 250-unit Lullwater at Big Ridge apartments at 6038 Hixson Pike for $59.75 million.

3. Olympus Property, a Fort Worth, Texas-based real estate investment firm, bought the 280-unit Village at Apison Pike for $59.25 million.

4. Capital Square 1031 acquired the 280-unit Integra Vistas in Hixson for $57.2 million.

5. The 190-unit 5 Points North Shore apartment complex on Cherokee Boulevard was sold for $54 million.

6. The Dominion Group in Knoxville bought the 269-unit Riverview Grande apartment complex in North Chattanooga for $41.7 million.

7. Capital Square bought The 17 Broad apartment complex with 158 units on South Broad Street for $37.5 million.

8. TruAmerica Multifamily of Los Angeles bought the 226-unit Ridgemont at Stringers Ridge on Mason Drive for $35.7 million.

9. The 225-unit Northshore Village Apartments at 621 Memorial Drive sold for nearly $34.4 million.

10. The 180-unit Northtowne Village Apartments at 1011 Gadd Road sold for just over $30 million.

Source: Hamilton County Register of Deeds