The old clich about the safest buy being that of real estate has finally come true again. After the gargantuan recession of 2008, it is no wonder that Americans tossed the motto of -real estate, real estate, real estate- out the window, because that commodity itself was the very kiss of death for too many Americans. Miraculously, Tennessee real estate in general and Nashville real estate in particular never tanked quite as disastrously as that of the rest of the nation, though. Real estate listings continued to show steadily increasing prices for Tennessee real estate and dramatically increasing prices for Nashville real estate while other cities were at a loss for how to reassemble their economies from the ground up.
Even a cursory glance at real estate listings today will provide an accurate image of the trendy interest in Nashville real estate compared with Tennessee real estate as a whole. There is a reason that Nashville continues to top lists of destinations for corporate openings and individual vacations alike, and real estate listings can only reflect that. While the soaring numbers may be exciting for well-established Nashville residents and business owners, the news is not so great for those experiencing the harsh reality of gentrification. Nashville’s hottest neighborhoods often gain the allure they eventually capitalize on by originating in low-price areas; the rapid development of east Nashville, closely followed by the commercialization of much of the 12 South neighborhood, provide clear examples of the construction that follows closely on the heels of increasing real estate prices.
For many, gentrification seems to be an inevitable, albeit regrettable, phenomenon. As areas improve through safety and cleanliness initiatives, their homes become more desirable and attract residents willing to pay more for them as a result. The increasing potential asking price soon translates to an increasing minimum rent price, which forces long-time families and individuals out of their homes. Even when residents are willing and able to accommodate the inflated price of staying where they are, they are not always given that choice.
The city has routinely chosen to close public housing developments that it considers less profitable then potential replacements, thereby driving out all previous tenants. The city also has failed to provide adequate public transit opportunities to those displaced by gentrification and moved farther from the city center, thereby creating employment hurdles when displaced residents’ previous jobs are no longer reachable. Other growing metropolitan centers in America have made good use of the affordable housing models proposed by social justice advocates and development experts, but Nashville has yet to get on board. For a city so obsessed with its own growth, it is sadly blind to the eye it’s gouging out.
Sherman Mohr is a chief editor of Nashville.com sharing information on Nashville real estate here. Start your search for the finest homes and properties in Nashville and visit for recent news