Knoxville, TN

Population: 183,066

Courtesy of csfotoimages/iStock

Knoxville offers first-time buyers Southern charm, the youthful energy of a college town and the beautiful backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. While life around Knoxville largely centers around the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, there is plenty of life outside campus, including 55 parks, Market Square — the downtown dining, entertainment, and shopping destination — as well as arts and culture hotspots like the East Tennessee Historical Society or the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Beyond the amenities Knoxville has to offer first-time buyers, it’s also a much less intimidating market to get started — unlike places like Nashville, where prices are much higher and competition for a single-family home can be fierce. The median price of homes sold in Knoxville is only $184,000, and the city has an HOI of 80.7, which means that a large portion of real estate in town is affordable based on income and housing costs.

Buying a home in Knoxville also means that you’re making a solid investment. Should you decide to sell, you won’t have any trouble finding a buyer as the average days on the market is about 62 (three days shorter than the national average). Knoxville is also known for being a recession-proof city, and we’ve written at length about its attractive affordability.

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