I believe that the title above will be THE question that Gatlinburg real estate buyers (and vacationers) will learn to ask when inquiring about a property. The fires have eliminated 2,000 plus structures, and that has obviously reduced an already diminished real estate supply. In fact, the current supply of homes county wide is very tight, with very few well priced quality homes available. Because of this, there is renewed interest in new construction and the lots with homes which were destroyed by the fire are the subject of a lot of discussion. Without a doubt, a good view is THE most important key to how well a Smoky Mountain vacation rental property performs, so these sites are potentially very attractive. It is important to note however that some areas such as Chalet Village North were SO decimated that even the handful of houses that didn’t burn will be impacted by the fires. I doubt that vacationers will like the idea of staying in a home surrounded by uncleared burn sites. That just isn’t what people who come to the mountains travel here for.
For Gatlinburg’s future, it is crucial that the city leaders hold property owners accountable to clean up the debris left behind by the wildfires. If Gatlinburg doesn’t require the debris to be removed in a timely fashion, the community risks suffering a 30 year blight but I don’t see that as likely. I believe that the value of the vacant lots, especially those in convenient locations or those with superior views, will cause reconstruction to occur, either by the current owners or by new investors. There is going to be a building boom in Gatlinburg like we haven’t seen in over 10 years as many of these 2000 structures are rebuilt. In fact, if the area rebuilds like it seems that it will, the “burn zones” may be very small within just a year or two. If you are interested in buying or selling Sevier County real estate, please contact us.