People from outside the area who are interested in owning homes or cabins here constantly ask us, “How did the wildfires affect the real estate market in the Smokies?”
That is a great question. The short answer is that we are in a season where it is really a seller’s market, for a couple of different reasons. First, even before the wildfires destroyed so many structures, we were seeing a shortage of properties for sale. The number of homes and cabins on the local real estate market is the lowest it has been in nearly seven years. Secondly, those who lost their homes now have insurance checks in hand and are looking to either replace or rebuild. Many more are choosing the replacement option, and as a result with so few homes and cabins on the market, we are seeing a slight increase in market value on what’s available. Overall, we have seen about a five percent increase in the purchase price of homes. So the market values are slowly appreciating and will continue to do so throughout most of the year.
For those building back, it’s a process that will take time. The average time for home construction under normal conditions is about nine months to a year. We’ve already seen a surge in the number of contractors getting out their toolboxes to help those looking to rebuild. This is exciting as it will bring contractors and their subcontractors back into the marketplace. We lost most of this industry in our area due to the depression of prices of houses. They just couldn’t afford to build new ones.
If you own a home or cabin you’ve been thinking about selling, this may be the time to do so. The lack of properties on the market means less competition for you against other sellers, especially if your home is in a highly desirable location where it is the only one, or at least one of only a handful for sale.
If you live outside the area, but love to visit the Smokies on a regular basis, now is a great time to come back and see the work that is going on for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
A great big thanks to all of you who have already made a visit to Sevier County and supported our recovery! You will be pleased to know that in the end, $4.1 million was donated to those in need, 40,000 volunteers came to our aid and 127,000 documented hours of their help were logged. If that was you, what can we say but wow!
You will also be excited to know that this year we have great plans to continue to grow – Cal Ripken Sports Complex was a huge success in its first year of operation with 650 baseball teams visiting from 25 states and Canada. The new 2017 Season opened in March and we are ready for a fantastic second year. There also is a Mountain Mile & Town Shop of shopping, restaurants and entertainment opening in the same area of Pigeon Forge; this complex will be on 174 acres. Growth is coming – also this year a 30,000 square foot Country Cascades Waterpark (the complex will be called the “The Summit”) has been launched. Dollywood has increased its rides, adding three new ones, Drop Line, Whistler Punk Chaser, and within Splash Country, Tail Spinner. We have a new Wyile Cider Bar, a Smith Creek Moonshine and the Casual Pint.
So our response to the fires is, “Build! Build what burned and build what we were dreaming of before the wildfires occurred. With your support we are all Mountain Strong!