Southern Tennessee Welcomes Jobs and Home Buyers

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Growth and stability are valuable characteristics in any construction market. In Chattanooga, they have been a reliable foundation, helping to make this one of the most attractive areas in the country to start or relocate a new business.

From peak to valley, median sales prices and the number of sales have not fluctuated more than 20 percent — and today’s prices and sales are in line with historical averages.

“We’ve made the NAHB Improving Markets list the last five months,” says Teresa Groves, Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. “Bankers are starting to lend to builders again. Things are improving — even though we never saw the big drop other places did.”

Teresa says that while the area was affected some by the national economic downturn, builders in the area have kept busy and adapted to a new marketplace where customers want smaller homes and more remodeling.

The HBA itself has retooled, changing its name from the HBA of Southern Tennessee as it was founded in 1953 to the HBA of Greater Chattanooga at the beginning of 2012.

“The reason we changed the name is when you say ‘Southern Tennessee’ that could be anywhere. Memphis is Southern Tennessee,” says Teresa. “When you say “Greater Chattanooga, people know where that is.”

The HBAGC serves builders in Rhea, Marion, Sequatchie, Hamilton, Meigs and Bledsoe counties.

The area is at the confluence of I-75, I-24, rail lines and the Tennessee River. It’s also located about two hours or less from Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham — all of which are markets on the rebound.

The HBAGC has about 150 builder members and about 300 associate members. The HBA staff and volunteers provide full governmental affairs representation, educational and networking opportunities and councils for Remodelers, Associates and Women in the building industry.

One of the biggest events the HBA produces is the Tri-State Homeshow. Held in February for nearly 50 years, the Tri-State Home Show, welcomes thousands of visitors. More than 450 vendors attend each year, making it one of the largest regional shows in the country.

The show has become highly specialized in that vendors may focus on one part of the home. Technology, man caves, patio, kitchen, bath — every vendor gets a chance to show off what they do best.

The show also has family entertainment, canned food drives and some of the proceeds also benefit the Chattanooga Food Bank, the local Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.

“People come from North Georgia and North Carolina to our Home Show each year,” says Teresa. “They’ll drive 30, 40 or more miles to be there.”

As the area continues to grow — thanks in part to new jobs at the Volkswagon Plant, Alstom Power and Wacker Chemical — the home building market should grow, too, adding even more jobs for the region.

All totaled, this Appalachian Mountain paradise has a lot to offer families looking for a place to call home. It’s no wonder Forbes magazine listed it at 8 out of 100 best “Bang For Your Buck” cities in the nation.

To learn more about the HBA of Greater Chattanooga, visit their website.

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