There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Tennessee:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Tennessee, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Volunteer State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Tennessee that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in Tennessee at the moment? That would be Red Bank according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Tennessee:
- Red Bank (Photos | Homes)
- Jackson (Photos | Homes)
- Columbia (Photos | Homes)
- Alcoa (Photos | Homes)
- Knoxville (Photos | Homes)
- Athens (Photos | Homes)
- Mount Carmel (Photos | Homes)
- Greeneville (Photos | Homes)
- La Vergne (Photos | Homes)
- Kingston (Photos | Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Tennessee and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Tennessee.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Tennessee?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Tennessee. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Tennessee with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Tennessee with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 427 cities and towns in Tennessee, only 14 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 14 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that Red Bank is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Volunteer State.
Read on for more on these places.
1. Red Bank
Red Bank was originally known as ‘Pleasant Hill.’ When a post office was established in the community in 1881, however, it was asked to adopt a new name, since the name ‘Pleasant Hill’ was already taken. The name ‘Red Bank’ was chosen by the wife of the first postmaster, George Hartman. It was inspired by the red clay ridge that was visible from a window in her house. In 1955, the communities of Red Bank and White Oak incorporated as a single town called ‘Red Bank-White Oak.’ In 1966, the city voted to drop the ‘White Oak’ for simplification purposes.
This area was occupied by the historic Chickasaw people at the time of European encounter. They were pushed out by European-American settlers under various treaties.
A year after the organization of Maury County in 1807 by European Americans, Columbia was laid out in 1808 and lots were sold. The original town, on the south bank of the Duck River, consisted of four blocks. The town was incorporated in 1817. For decades during the antebellum years, it was the county seat when Maury County was the richest county in the state, based on its agricultural wealth in plantations, which cultivated commodity crops of tobacco and hemp, and high-quality livestock. There were many farms for breeding thoroughbred race horses. To support these industries, the county slaveholders held a significant proportion of slave workers. Although Tennessee had competitive voting during Reconstruction, in the late 19th century, the state legislature passed laws to disenfranchise African Americans, a political exclusion that continued deep into the 20th century. This adversely affected racial relations for decades in Columbia and Maury County.
Shortly after the Pittsburgh Reduction Company changed its name to the Aluminum Company of America in 1907, the company began investigating the possibility of establishing a large smelting operation in East Tennessee. The hydroelectric potential of the Little Tennessee River, which exits the mountains about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Alcoa, was one of the primary incentives, as the company’s aluminum smelting operation would require massive amounts of electricity. In 1910, the company established a base camp at what is now known as Calderwood, but was initially known as ‘Alcoa’, and would be known as such until the name was reapplied to the company’s operations in North Maryville a few years later.
The first people to form substantial settlements in what is now Knoxville arrived during the Woodland period (c. 1000 B.C. ? A.D 1000). One of the oldest artificial structures in Knoxville is a burial mound constructed during the early Mississippian culture period (c. A.D. 1000-1400). The earthwork mound is now surrounded by the University of Tennessee campus. Other prehistoric sites include an Early Woodland habitation area at the confluence of the Tennessee River and Knob Creek (near the Knox-Blount county line), and Dallas Phase Mississippian villages at Post Oak Island (also along the river near the Knox-Blount line), and at Bussell Island (at the mouth of the Little Tennessee River near Lenoir City).|By the 18th century, the Cherokee had become the dominant tribe in the East Tennessee region, although they were consistently at war with the Creek and Shawnee. The Cherokee people called the Knoxville area kuwanda’talun’yi, which means ‘Mulberry Place.’ Most Cherokee habitation in the area was concentrated in the Overhill settlements along the Little Tennessee River, southwest of Knoxville.
The Cherokee were living in McMinn County at the time of the arrival of the first Euro-American explorers. The Athens area was situated nearly halfway between the Overhill Cherokee villages of Great Tellico to the north in Monroe County and Great Hiwassee along the Hiwassee River to the south. In 1819, the Cherokee signed the Calhoun Treaty, selling the land north of the Hiwassee (including all of modern McMinn County) to the United States. McMinn County was organized on November 13, 1819 at the home of John Walker in what is now Calhoun. The Native American village, Pumpkintown (a corruption of Potemkin town), was located on a farm about two miles east of present-day Athens. It is sometimes incorrectly identified as a forerunner of Athens. Athens was laid out and chosen as the county seat in 1822. The name ‘Athens’ may have been chosen due to perceived topographical similarities to Athens, Greece.
7. Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel was once recognized as the only town in the United States to be totally on one side of the road. Since then, the city has secured property on the other side of the road and has built a cemetery.
Native Americans were hunting and camping in the Nolichucky Valley as early as the Paleo-Indian period (c. 10,000 B.C.). A substantial Woodland period (1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D.) village existed at the Nolichucky’s confluence with Big Limestone Creek (now part of Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park). By the time the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the area in the late 18th century, the Cherokee claimed the valley as part of their hunting grounds. The Great Indian Warpath passed just northwest of modern Greeneville, and the townsite is believed to have once been the juncture of two lesser Native American trails.
9. La Vergne
Kingston has its roots in Fort Southwest Point, which was built just south of present-day Kingston in 1792. At the time, Southwest Point was on the fringe of the legal settlement area for Euro-Americans. A Cherokee village, headed by Chief Tollunteeskee, was situated just across the river, at what is now Rockwood. In 1805, Colonel Return J. Meigs, who operated out of Southwest Point, was appointed Cherokee Agent, effectively moving the agency from the Tellico Blockhouse to Southwest Point. The city of Kingston was established on October 23, 1799, as part of an effort to partition Knox County (the initial effort to form a separate county failed, but succeeded two years later). Kingston was named after Major Robert King, an officer at Fort Southwest Point in the 1790s.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Tennessee
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Tennessee. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 427 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Tennessee reading, check out:
- 10 Most Ghetto Places In Tennessee
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Tennessee
- 10 Safest Places In Tennessee
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Tennessee