Much like the rest of the country, housing costs in Knoxville are on the rise.
As of February 2020, Knoxville renters saw an overall increase of 6%. This brought the average monthly cost of renting to $1,082 for a 970-square-foot apartment. Though nearly $400 cheaper than the national average, it is important to note that the median income in Knoxville is $54,437 — lower than the national median of $61,937. Of 192 cities ranked by Wallethub, Knoxville sat at #148 on their list of Best & Worst Places to Rent in America. This is a bleak figure for Knoxvillians in search of affordable rental housing.
50% of occupied households in the city of Knoxville are rented, with a 49% rate of homeownership. The latter is considerably lower than the national average, which sat at 67.9% as of 2020’s second quarter. For those looking to buy homes, the numbers are more uplifting than those facing renters. While the national average listing for a home sits around $280,000, Knoxville homes go for $240,000. One Knoxville mortgage loan officer described now as a “good time to buy,” with mortgage rates for Knoxvillians remaining low even despite the economic impact of COVID-19.
We do not yet have a complete idea of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the housing market; however, the data we do have looks grim. Experts predict that the pandemic will magnify the affordable housing shortage in the U.S. Many cities have implemented housing assistance programs to combat the effects of COVID — including Knoxville. You can find more information about eligibility here.
As housing costs in Knoxville continue to rise alongside an 8.2% unemployment rate, renters and homebuyers in the city face an uncertain future. Luckily, with programs such as the above housing assistance provided by the city of Knoxville, Knoxvillians have some avenues to avoid the worst of COVID’s ill effects.
Kaelynn Stewart is Campaign Coordinator at Held Law Firm.