"Chattanooga is in an absolute crisis in terms of housing inventory," Executive Director of the Homebuilders Association Doug Fisher said.
It is the scarcity of homes on the market that is driving up prices to record levels, he said.
In many cases when a home goes on the market, the seller winds up getting several offers well above the asking price.
Mr. Fisher said, "Prices are up because of demand and the scarcity of the product. Chattanooga home prices have been artificially low for a long time and now we are catching up to the rest of the country."
He said, "Many people are moving into our area wanting a smaller town than what they've been used to. This started during the coronavirus pandemic when people were looking for less crowded spaces."
Mr. Fisher added, "And Millennials are finally moving out of their parents' homes."
Of the skyrocketing prices, he said, "Nobody should panic. We are very likely to see them peak out and start to decline" though he does not expect any "bubble to burst."
He said, "Buyers should hang on and let the market clear out as prices start to moderate."
Mr. Fisher said, "We've got to update our zoning rules and regulations to allow higher density. That's the only way we can push the prices down."
The Planning Commission currently is studying whether to implement those zoning changes.