There’s a Unique Reason Many Are Moving to Johnson City
Those of us who live in Johnson City and surrounding suburbs likely take much for granted. This author was born and raised in this area of Johnson City and Jonesborough, and only after moving away for 20 years and returning did I view the area differently. It’s that old problem – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Living here for a lifetime and being accustomed to everything blinds us to what newcomers see and value.
Johnson City Has Become a Mover’s Destination
It’s no secret that Johnson City has become a “mover’s destination.” Both Johnson City Manager Cathy Ball and Interim Director of Planning and Development Services Dave McClelland are quoted in local news articles touting the city’s ongoing growth trend and future potential. Both also cite an influx of new moves from New York, California, Florida and Texas. Big city living is steadily giving way to a more affordable and sedate manner of living; and this is truly characteristic of Johnson City.
Most recently, Johnson City, TN appeared as number three on the list of Emerging Housing Markets across the United States. The report, released on July 26, 2022, by Realtor.com and The Wall Street Journal places Johnson City only behind Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, and Burlington, North Carolina, for being top mover’s destinations with rankings in various areas of interest.
Interests that were top draws for those looking to relocate include things we are accustomed to enjoying in Northeast Tennessee, including:
- No state income tax
- Low property taxes
- Low cost of living
- Low unemployment
- Price reductions as real estate lingers on the market
- Access to healthcare
- Access to quality education options
- Local amenities
The report also listed the median home price for Johnson City to be at $350,000, which is somewhat higher than the area’s median sales price of $197,500, as reported at the end of 2021 by the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) Home Sales Report. The NETAR report also reveals that Johnson City holds the highest percentage of market share in the region, at 42%. Conversely, many housing options can be found throughout the area for much less.
A Unique Amenity Known as the New Benefit
Perhaps the most surprising factor cited in the Realtor.com/Wall Street Journal report is what they call the “New Benefit.” The top locations on the list, including Johnson City, also were rated high in a category titled “Active and Outdoorsy Lifestyles.” Specifically mentioned was access to mountains, especially in areas like Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado and Montana.
The mountains of Northeast Tennessee are calling…
The report said the top locations were “well-suited for people looking for higher quality of life, in any generation,” listing things like good schools, parks, mountains and vacation homes. The mountains of Northeast Tennessee are calling and a good many people are answering by relocating to our beautiful area.
This author lives in Johnson City and owns a home. Among my close neighbors are transplants from Texas, New York and Illinois. All cite the above common reasons for choosing to relocate here. But they are also enamored with the area’s access to mountains, hiking, caving, lakes and numerous outdoor opportunities that enhance their lives. In fact, two of my three transplant neighbors frequently enjoy outdoor outings with family and friends.
Outdoor amenities in and around Johnson City include:
- Boone Lake
- The Tweetsie Trail (Tennessee’s longest rails-to-trails project)
- Buffalo Mountain Park (8 hiking trails)
- Cherokee National Forest
- Founder’s Park
- Jacob’s Nature Park
- Metro-Kiwanis Park & Friendship Gardens
- Rotary Park
- Willow Springs Park & Dog Park
- Winged Deer Park
- Tannery Knobs Bike Park (smooth & rough trails, plus a world-class pump track!)
- Tubing, fishing or whitewater rafting on the Nolichucky River
- Watauga Lake
- Blue Hole Falls
There is something for every adventurer in and around Johnson City, Tennessee. For those of us who call Northeast Tennessee home, our surroundings may seem commonplace. For those “refugees” from high-cost, fast-paced, big-city life, our pristine area is budding with opportunities for a better quality of life, an “outdoorsy” lifestyle, and a better appreciation for nature. Perhaps we can all learn to better value our surroundings with gratitude.
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