Knoxville Tennessee Real Estate Trends

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 3:10 pm, February 21st, 2012  

2012 Real Estate Trends: Comparing Knoxville to the rest of Tennessee

By guest author Emma Crawford

With 2012 getting in full swing this February, a number of real estate markets around Tennessee are analyzing their original goals to see where they are stacking up. A number of cities such as Memphis and Nashville are looking to seek improvements in the market in 2012. With one month underway, a look at the Knoxville real estate market’s place in comparison to the rest of the state and nearby cities is a great way to measure early success.

For the entire state of Tennessee, median prices are sitting at $129,000 right now. Knoxville’s average listing price of $240,000 in February is certainly superior to the statewide average, which is a great positive for area sellers. In comparison, Memphis’s current median prices are sitting at $145,000. When it comes to median prices, Knoxville is certainly holding an advantage over other the rest of Tennessee right now.

Mortgage rates are certainly an important part of real estate these days. As they’ve hit record lows in 2011, buyers have been able to take advantage of rates lower than a lot of rent prices. Compared to the state’s two biggest cities, Memphis and Nashville, Knoxville is currently home to the lowest 30 year fixed rate mortgages of the three. Knoxville’s current APR of 3.88 is highly comparable to Memphis and Nashville, which are both sitting at 3.977 APR

Just as mortgage rates have gone down, apartment rental rates continue to go up throughout the country. While this is one area where Knoxville is similar to the state’s other big cities, the trends could be positive for area sellers. Knoxville’s rentals are up almost four percent over the past three months, while Nashville apartments have gone up nearly eight percent in the same time frame. With apartment rentals going up all over the state, it’s possible that those who are on the fence between renting and buying could decide to pull the trigger on the purchase of a home in 2012.

Right now, Knoxville has comparable inventory to Nashville near 3050, although it’s short of Memphis, who has 3095 homes on the market. However, even though Memphis has a better inventory right now, homes are staying on the market for a lot shorter time in the Knoxville area. Right now, the average Memphis-area home is on the market for 121 days, compared to just 100 on average for a home in the Knoxville area.

Certainly there are some gives and takes when it comes to Knoxville’s current status compared to other large real estate markets in Tennessee. One huge positive is the clear advantage in listing price that Knoxville currently holds, which will be a boon for area sellers. Hopefully the record low mortgage rates in the state, combined with rising rental rates can help continue to drive a strong 2012 in the Tennessee real estate markets.

Visit for all your Knoxville area and east Tennessee real estate needs.


December 7th 1941 “A Day That Will Live In Infamy!”

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 10:35 am, December 7th, 2010  

Today is December 7th, 2010. 69 years ago at this time Japan was attacking our American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. Following is a recollection from a then young sailor that was actually there during the attack. Reposted with permission of fellow Realtor Saul Klein the son of this sailor.

REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR by Marcus Klein, US Navy Retired, CWO-4

“Today is December 7, 1991. Fifty years ago today, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I’m going to try and tell my story, the best that I can remember, of the events that occurred on that day to me.

I was attached to the USS Medusa AR?1, which was a battle ship tender. Our duties were to repair battleships. I never was able to get back to my ship.   Being married, I lived outside the base, and rated overnight liberty. The first thing that happened to me was the woman across the street whose husband was a Chief in the Navy came out and started screaming, “The Japs are attacking Pearl Harbor!”   I ran out of our house and looked up in the sky over Pearl. We weren’t too far away. We were next to Hickam Field. I saw the bombs exploding in the air and the planes diving all over and I just couldn’t believe what was happening.

My first thought was they were having a mock battle, but I had the ­radio on and the announcer said all personnel return to your ships. As I ran down the street, I told Lani, “You run up to the hills and hide if the Japs land. You don’t want to be caught by them.” I got on the highway. We lived right near Dillingham Highway. An officer in his car stopped on his way back and picked me up. We headed towards the base and before we got there a plane came straight down the highway, strafing, and we ran off the highway into the cane fields and bounced along until we finally stopped, got out, and ran the rest of the way to the base. As we went through the gate, the Marines were firing at the planes with their 45’s. The only thing we could to do was throw stones at them. That’s how close they were.

We headed toward Fleet Landing which was just a short distance away. When we got down there, there were lots of sailors coming back. The sailor on duty said, “Report to any place on the base that you can be of help. There are no boats running, there’s no possible way to get back to your own ship.”

My ship, the Medusa, was tied about as far away as it could be from the landing. We were on the other side of Ford Island. The battleship row was on this side. The Medusa was on the opposite side at a place called Middlelock, which was off of Pearl City. Next to the Medusa was the Curtis, a seaplane tender.

Along side the Medusa, on the other side, were destroyers.   I think there were 4 of them, old 4?stack destroyers. In the mean time, near the landing, I ran towards a group of men. We all ran towards the Navy yard figuring that was the best place to help. We were almost at the Officers Club when a Jap plane came diving straight down towards us. Several of the men in the group were hit and killed but we kept on going until we got to the docks.

I saw a whaleboat along side the dock, and I told one of the other fellows, “Let’s take this thing out and see if we can help the men in the water.” You  could see the flames and all the water was on fire around the battleships, mainly the Arizona and the California. The Nevada was on her way towards the channel. We ran and got into the  boat and I said, “I can run the engine if you can steer it.” So I started it up and got underway.

We started out towards the Arizona. That’s where most of the fire was. While heading that way, I looked up and saw we were going towards the channel. I turned around and yelled at the guy with me. He had been shot and was over the side in the water. I found I didn’t know what to do. I turned the engine off and dove into the water. I couldn’t do anything for the guy who was in the water, so I swam over to the Okalala, which was over by the drydock and I got out of the water.

The Pennsylvania was in the drydock and the Casin and Downs was forward of it. I remember my dad telling me that, when there was fire you always put water on the building next to it to keep it cool so it doesn’t burn too. So we grabbed a hose. I got another guy to help me. The hose had a suicide nozzle on it and we started spraying down the bow of the Pennsylvania. It was then I could see that this fire was getting out of control. It was really bad on the Casin and Downs, so we started shooting out a stream of water on the Casin and Downs. It wasn’t too long before the fire reached the magazines of one of the ships and she blew up.

The concussion was so great, that in the Pipe Shop, which is along side the dock on the other side of the cranes, the corrugated metal on the walls blew off. I noticed, at this time that I was bleeding from a head wound. The shrapnel from the Casini or the Downs must have hit me; or that of a plane; I have no idea. I don’t know what happened. It didn’t hurt too much. There were too many things going on.

All of this was just hard to believe. Here our fleet, the greatest in the world, was destroyed, being destroyed, and no way of doing anything to fight back. This was a terrible feeling. So I kept thinking I better go and get under somebody’s command. After all , the guy said “go wherever you can to help.” I feel a lot of the ships’ men had been killed because some hadn’t gotten back to their ships. I reported to the first ship I could. At least I would be under the jurisdiction of a command.

I ran down the docks and saw the St. Louis had gotten under way. She had been tied alongside the Honolulu. I figured the Honolulu would go next. I’ll get on her. Well, unknown to me, she had been hit by a 250 pound bomb. It went through the dock and exploded under the water ripping the seams of the Honolulu’s magazines.  Although she’d been casting off her lines, she came back and tied up again. I reported to the officer of the Deck and I guess It looked pretty messy, bloody, and wet. He said,”You’d better go down to sick bay.” I didn’t know where it was so they sent a messenger to take me down and the corpsman put some sutures in my head.

Then I went back to the quarter deck and he said, “What ship were you on?” I told him I was a Fireman First on the Medusa as a metal smith. He said they’d assign me to the metal smith shop. They needed help because they had several oil tanks that were ruptured. They had splits in the seams from the concussion of the bomb that went off in the magazine.  So, I reported to the metal smith’s shop and I went with a working party down into the magazine. I spent the rest of the day and all night in the magazine tearing off insulation so we could get to the seams that were torn open. After I got out of there, I became part of the crew on the Honolulu, so, actually, I was never on the Medusa on December 7th. I was on the Honolulu, a light square?stern cruiser.

As I look back, I don’t ‘remember how I got clothes. I had no money and no clothes. I guess some of the sailors in the shop had given me clothes to wear and maybe an old toothbrush. I asked if could go back to my ship and they said that eventually they’d get me back. It was ten days before I got back. There was no way I could send word to Lani about what happened. I asked one of the yard workers who was working in the yard if he would stop by my house and let my wife know I was okay.   This one yard worker finally told my wife and the family that I was still alive and aboard the Honolulu. After ten days, I was sent back to the Medusa with a letter stating that I came aboard and received a commendation on the work that I did while I was on the Honolulu.

The first thing the kids aboard the Medusa wanted to show me was my battle station. It seems the destroyers alongside on the starboard side had destroyed the crows nest while firing at the Jap Kamikaza which dove into the Curtis. The destroyers were firing over the Medusa at the plane right through the crow’s nest. If I hadn’t been home, I would have been aboard the ship and would have been killed by my own bullets.

The events were terrible, even after the battle. Remembering December 7th and the things that went on when you look back seems like a lifetime ago. It’s hard to believe that we lived through something like this.  I was in three Wars. I was on submarine war patrols. Nothing could compare with the     sight of seeing the fleet destroyed.

I worked on and got my request approved for submarine duty. In June or July, I was transferred to the Naval station awaiting transportation back to the mainland. While there, we were sent on working parties, digging bodies out of the Arizona and some of the other ships. We were taking them up to Red Hill to be buried.

Looking back today, I hope no one has to go through this again. “This is a sorry day in our history,”as Roosevelt said, “a day of infamy.” Only those who were there can really understand how dreadful, how horrible it all was. I think the wound I got from the ships or from the planes that day is a small thing to happen, compared to what could have happened.”

Post Note by Saul Klein:  My Dad and Mom are both Pearl Harbor Survivors. My Dad, passed away on January 15, 2005. My mom now lives in a “55 or Better” community in Palm Springs. Mom and Dad met in Hilo, Hawaii in January of 1941. My Dad was a sailor, a Jewish kid, 23 years old, from Detroit. My mom was a 17 year old local girl (Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, and a little Chinese for good measure some say). Mom and Dad were married on June 28th, 1941 in Honolulu, by a Justice of the Peace and on December 7, 1941, they lived in Navy Housing Area 3 (NHA 3) on Ninth Street right outside of the Main Gate of Pearl Harbor. My Mother’s parents lived in a little shack on “P Road” in an area known as Damon Tract, which is now where the Honolulu Airport is located. Visit

Great Smoky Mountains National Park webcams | Knoxville Tennessee

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 3:48 pm, July 29th, 2010  

Near the town of Knoxville, Tennessee lies the 521,086 acre (more or less) 😉 Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A scenic mountain range that attracts over 10 million annual visitors to view the scenic beauty of the rugged mountains and beautiful pastoral valleys.

A couple of strategically placed web-cams can give you up to date views of what the local weather and scenery looks like most anytime during daylight hours. I’ve seen some very beautiful scenes from looking at these webcams periodically no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

It’s also fun to watch the change of seasons on these webcams. One great use is to monitor the leaves as they change color in the fall if you’re coming for a visit.

One of my favorites is the one at Look Rock just off the Foothills Parkway below Maryville, Tennessee. This is a recent photo from the Look Rock webcam just before dark in late July around 9:00 PM.

night falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Knoxville, TN This is from the Look Rock webcam

Night falls over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)

The mountain in the middle foreground with the three peaks on top is Rich Mountain; Cades Cove lies just behind it.

Here’s what you’re looking at in daylight on a clear day.

great smoky mountains national park near knoxville, tennessee

Here's a handy photo of what you're actually looking at.

Another great webcam is the one on Purchase Knob on the south side of the park. This camera is actually just inside the park boundary but faces east to northeast towards Bald Mountain, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina to the east.

Here’s a shot from the Purchase Knob camera with prominent landmarks identified.

purchase knob great smoky mountains national park near Knoxville, TN

Did you ever wonder what you're looking at on web-cam shots? Here's some help

East Tennessee and the greater Knoxville area are known for natural and scenic beauty; pay a visit soon and look around. Lots of folks do and end up deciding they want to live here. is a great resources to find a home, condo, or land in and around Knoxville.

Google Trends Labs shows you what people search for in your area

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:59 pm, July 9th, 2010  

Have you tried this great Google tool yet? Google Trends Labs lets you search, find, and compare keyword search terms with others to see which ones are being searched for most.

Here’s an example from my area comparing: “Knoxville Real Estate”, “Knoxville TN Real Estate” and “Knoxville Homes For Sale”

knoxville tn real estate listings for sale in knoxville tennessee google chart

Google chart comparing keywords

The blue line above represents Google searches within the US for the keywords, “Knoxville Real Estate” which form the baseline at 1.00

The red line is for “Knoxville TN Real Estate which scored 0.45 or less than half the top keywords rank.

Last is the term, “Knoxville Homes For Sale” which is the keyword set the salesman below told me was the top search term for my area and it ranked 0.39

These results are for searches done within the United States for the year 2009. You can ask Google Trends Labs for most any combination of areas and time periods. Since I believe most of my searches originate in the US that was what I was most interested in.

I found this tool by accident while looking for most used keywords for real estate in my area. I had one of “those salesmen” call me several times trying to sell the proverbial “latest and greatest” keyword oriented website. Looks like Google’s results above doesn’t support his story.

Here’s what Google says about their new tool:

“1. How does Google Trends work? Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.

We then show you a graph with the results – our Search Volume Index graph. Located beneath the Search Volume Index graph is our News reference volume graph. This graph shows you the number of times your topic appeared in Google News stories.

When Google Trends detects a spike in the volume of news stories for a particular search term, it labels the graph and displays the headline of an automatically selected Google News story written near the time of that spike.

Currently, only English-language headlines are displayed, but we hope to support non-English headlines in the future. Below the search and news volume graphs, Trends displays the top regions, cities, and languages in which people searched for the first search term you entered.”

Pretty cool stuff from our friends at Google.

BTW, here’s a pretty cool website to search for Knoxville area homes if you’re looking or thinking:

Knoxville area 2nd Quarter 2009 Sales figures

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 2:06 am, July 16th, 2009  
LAS VEGAS - MARCH 21:  Countrywide Home Loans ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Second Quarter of 2009 real estate sales figures are out now along with the numbers from this past June; let’s take a look.

Here’s what this past June looked like in numbers of closed sales in the greater Knoxville area.

June 2009 closed real estate sales for the greater Knoxville, TN area

June 2009 closed real estate sales for the greater Knoxville, TN area

Not too much difference here compared to this past May except the dramatic upturn in sales in past months of June seemed to start earlier.

Now let’s take a look at the 2nd quarter numbers. Here’s the 2nd quarter of 2009 compared to past 2nd quarters.

No real surprises here, these numbers looked pretty much as I expected.

These graphs represent numbers of real homes sold and the numbers still look pretty sad compared to past years. Sales volume today is basically back where it was in 2002.

2nd quarter 2009 compared to past 2nd quarters

2nd quarter 2009 compared to past 2nd quarters

Here’s a graph showing days on the market or time to sell a house. Not surprisingly that number is up.

Greater Knoxville area average time to sell a home

Greater Knoxville area average time to sell a home

So what is the solution to Knoxville’s housing crisis?

Unfortunately most of the solution depends on the way the federal government manages the current financial crisis brought about by loosening of lending standards to let marginal and in some cases, unqualified buyers, buy homes with high leveraged loans they couldn’t afford.

Now lender and the fed has over corrected making it more difficult for well qualified buyers to qualify for loans they can easily afford. Most every Realtor I talk with, both locally and across the country, has stories of qualified buyers that want to buy a house they can well afford to make the payments on but either get turned down or have to jump through numerous lending hoops before they can buy.

All of this has combined to create a crisis of confidence in our financial system, driving down the stock market, causing job losses, and huge numbers of foreclosures as the weak buyers that probably should not have been able to buy in the first place, struggle or can’t make their mortgage payments.

The current federal tax credit to enable buyers that enables buyers making under $150,000 ($75,000 for single buyers) is what’s driving a big portion of our market right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has petitioned Congress to continue this credit which expires in November of this year, through 2010, increase it to $15,000, and let it apply to all homebuyers, not just those who have not owned a home in the past 3 years. We’ll see how that goes.

Another solution would be to loosen up the guidelines for qualified buyers and not penalize them. Home purchases not only create lots of jobs for people involved in those transactions, each one also drives many thousands of dollars in retail sales as new homeowners purchase goods and services for their new homes.

Please feel free to make comments or ask any questions you may have.

All of Knoxville’s Realtors listings are available for you to see at

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Happy birthday sweet 16

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 2:24 pm, June 29th, 2009  
Candle birthday cakes.
Image via Wikipedia

This past weekend was Jordan, my oldest grandaughter’s birthday; she turned 16. Of course 16 is one of those “milestone” birthdays, a sort of junior coming of age, so a big party was in order.

Fortunately my daughter and her family live in a small town in west Tennessee with a very nice community center so they rented it for the birthday party. We had a DJ, a local rap group called “GMC”, and lots of party goers.

Here’s the DJ setting up before the party got under way.

dj setting up his equipment at Jorday's birthday party.
This is Jordan, my oldest grandaughter on her 16th birthday.

This is Jordan the birthday girl with proud grandpa.

Jordan's birthday cake

Jordan's birthday cake before it was devoured.

backdrop for the luau birthday party

backdrop for the luau birthday party

Here are some of the party goers dancing.

This is a clip from our rappers, GMC and company.

The party went on unti midnight and everyone went home tired but happy. I believe we had around 80 kids at the height of the party and around 25 parents who sat around outside and talked where the noise level was more bearable.

Happy birthday Jordan Elizabeth, I hope you have many, many more. Love, Grandpa.

Happy birthday Jordan Elizabeth, I hope you have many, many more. Love, Grandpa.

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Quick and easy summer recipes for Knoxville backyard chefs

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 10:30 am, May 20th, 2009  
Pork steaks cooking over a charcoal fire
Image via Wikipedia

Before becoming a Realtor many, many years ago, I was in the restaurant business, mostly in management but I love to cook and create new recipes. Here’s a couple of my summer favorites that meet 2 of my main criteria for cooking; quick and easy.

Pulled BBQ pork, serves 4

You can fix this one in your crock pot or slow cooker.


  • 2 pound Boston Butt Roast or boneless ribs work well also
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a 14 ounce can of beef broth (you can freeze the other half for later use)
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • To give it an interesting flavor save a couple of Tablespoons of brewed coffee and toss it in


  • Put the roast or ribs in your crock pot or slow cooker, pour beef broth and optional coffee over.
  • Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours or until meat is fork tender (separates easily with fork)
  • Remove to cutting board and pull apart with two forks or you can chop with a large knife like an 8 inch french cooks knife.
  • Serve with BBQ sauce on the side or poured over. You can also mix BBQ sauce with meat in advance and pop in the oven for about 10 minutes but most people like to add their own sauce.

Serve with cole slaw and BBQ fixins’ like baked beans, potato salad, or chips.

Marinated Grilled Shrimp, serves 4 (I got this one from All which is a great source of awesome dishes.


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons and 1-3/4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/4 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • skewers


  1. in a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
  2. Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque or pink.

Bon Appetit! also has some great houses just in case you need a backyard to put that grill in.

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