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Knoxville Region Market Report Q1 2022

Industrial leasing activity in the Knoxville market continues to remain steady with high demand and a lack of speculative supply. The metro’s vacancy rate of 1.3% is one of the lowest in the Southeast region, and large availabilities are rare. While there is some supply in the pipeline, most of the space under construction is preleased, so vacancies will likely remain relatively low over the next several quarters.

Owners are capitalizing on the tight market and are raising rents at a brisk pace. Year-over-year rent growth of 11.6% marks an improvement compared to rent gains posted in the quarters following the onset of the pandemic. Given that availabilities remain exceedingly scarce in the Knoxville metro, property owners may be able to continue raising rents at an above-average pace over the next several quarters. Industrial rents in Knoxville are up more than 50% since 2010, essentially matching the cumulative growth in nearby Chattanooga in that time. Average asking rents of $7.10/SF are also roughly in line with those found in Chattanooga, and both metros come at a sizable discount to rents in Nashville.

Deal volume in Knoxville has slowed following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and quarterly deal volume has remained right around or above the metro’s five-year average. While there has been an uptick in out-of-state investment in recent years, local and regional buyers are still the most active players in Knoxville. Owner/user deals made up nearly half of the investment volume in 2019. This marks an increase from the 10-year average of closer to 30%. Market pricing trends indicate that SF pricing increased by 6% in 2019, with cumulative growth of more than 70% being achieved since 2008. Additionally, cap rate compression has slowed in recent years, with the figure sitting in the low-7% range.

Notable Baker Realty Company Transactions in Q1

– Leased 104,000 SF to Lowe’s at 1700 Elizabeth Lee Pkwy, Loudon, TN
– Sold 302 RPM Drive, Loudon, TN
– Leased 54,000 SF at Hoitt Avenue
– Leased 80,000 SF at Hoitt Avenue
– Leased 40,000 SF at 1605 Prosser Road