Those of us who have been in Sevier County a long time (nearly 15 years in our case) have seen lots of very good periods for Gatlinburg area real estate. In fact, until 2007 even people who have lived here as many as 50 years had never seen a real down year. For this reason, a lot of would-be sellers are suffering from a little disbelief and some are actually in a pure state of denial. I regularly speak with property owners who are dismayed that the property they bought in 2005 isn’t worth (nearly 5 years later) what they paid for it. To be sure, this isn’t the case for all types of real estate and some categories are doing much better than others. Small permanent residences (not cabins) are holding their own pretty well with values about equal to the peak prices of 2006. Larger (2500+ square foot) rental cabins have been particularly hard hit and are sharply lower than they were during the price bubble which peaked in late 2006. Unfortunately our Great Smoky Mountain Association of Realtors database no longer has 2006 information so we can only go back to 2007 results. 2009 sales prices for these larger log and log look homes have declined by 21.48% when compared with 2007 sales. This is a sharp decline indeed when one considers that during the same period smaller (1100-1300 square foot) 3 bedroom homes have only slightly declined.
Sadly, with foreclosures still driving the Smoky Mountain real estate cabin market prices haven’t yet started back up. These numbers are what led me this week to gently explain to yet another frustrated seller that “The Market doesn’t care what sales price you need.” This is of course not at all a fun conversation to have. I do however feel that it is better to disappoint someone on the front end rather than giving them unrealistic expectations only to be unsuccessful in a doomed to failure attempt to sell their property. So many homes in our Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville market are wildly overpriced and simply will not sell in this current environment. Prices will eventually start back up and I think we are getting close to the bottom of the market as volume is starting to improve, although only ever so slightly.
If you are looking for honest information and not empty promises we look forward to working with you.