What Is the Real Cost of Living in Knoxville?

Jennifer Whicker December 21, 2023

Knoxville, nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, this city has been capturing hearts with its perfect blend of Southern hospitality and vibrant city vibes. Many have been lured by its irresistible charm, wondering what it’s like to settle in the Marble City. And the numbers are quite promising. Let's dive into the specifics of life in Knoxville, financially speaking.

Is Knoxville expensive to live in?

The idea of cost is, of course, subjective. For some, a dollar stretches further than for others. However, when it comes to Knoxville, the general consensus is that this picturesque city offers great value. Many residents enjoy a good quality of life without the high price tags often associated with other metropolitan areas. Dining out, entertainment, and even the occasional indulgence are all within reach. But it's not just about spending; the savings here are real. From reduced grocery bills to affordable housing options, Knoxville provides a respite from the financial pressures experienced in many other cities.

How do Knoxville prices compare to other U.S. cities?

When you stack up Knoxville against other U.S. cities, its affordability shines even brighter. While metropolitans like New York or San Francisco boast of bustling streets and sky-high buildings, they also come with sky-high costs. On the other hand, Knoxville offers a serene, laid-back lifestyle without sacrificing big-city amenities and at a fraction of the price. Even when compared to cities of similar sizes, Knoxville frequently emerges as a more cost-effective option. From healthcare to transportation to entertainment, the savings in Knoxville can be both surprising and delightful.

What is a livable salary in Knoxville?

When considering relocation, one of the first questions on everyone’s mind is: "How much should I be earning to live comfortably?" In Knoxville, the answer is refreshingly modest. While individual needs vary, many residents find that a household income of around $40,000 to $50,000 annually allows for a comfortable lifestyle, covering housing, utilities, food, and entertainment with a bit to spare. Of course, factors such as household size and personal spending habits can shift this figure, but on the whole, the cost-to-earnings ratio in Knoxville is attractively balanced.

What is the real estate market like in Knoxville?

Residential real estate in Knoxville is a classic seller’s market: supply is limited compared to high demand. Despite increasing mortgage rates, cities throughout Tennessee are seeing price jumps for houses. According to a recent survey, of the state’s top 50 fastest-growing areas, over half (27) were in the Knoxville metro area.

Knoxville has seen a five-year price change of 85.1% and a one-year price change of 9.2%. In other words, Knoxville homes have appreciated an average of about $156,000 since 2018. The one-year growth rate makes Knoxville the second-fastest growing metro area in the nation. Meanwhile, apartment rent growth is in moderation — after nearly reaching 20% annual growth in Q3 2022, rent prices decelerated to 4.5% annual growth in Q3 2023.

What is the median home price in Knoxville?

Strong demand for homeownership persists in spite of overall market conditions. The allure of white picket fences, gardens with room to breathe, and homes echoing with laughter is strong in this city. With a median home sold price hovering around the $370,000 mark, that dream is well within reach for many. Whether it's a cozy starter home or a more spacious abode to accommodate a growing family, Knoxville offers a diverse range of options to suit every budget. Plus, with the city’s rich history, architectural enthusiasts will find a trove of treasures, from charming vintage homes to sleek modern builds.

While numbers and figures provide a clear picture, the true essence of Knoxville's affordability lies in the stories of its residents. It's in the smiles of friends enjoying picnics in the park without financial worries or the young professionals venturing into entrepreneurship, bolstered by the city's supportive environment. Knoxville's cost of living is not just about dollars and cents; it's about a richer, fuller life for all who call it home.

Knoxville cost of living: A snapshot of affordability

Delving into the cost of living in Knoxville reveals an inviting tapestry of affordability interwoven with a rich quality of life. When one imagines a fresh glass of milk at the breakfast table, Knoxville presents a gentle price tag of $1.85 for a half-gallon, a gracious 21.15% cheaper than the national average of $2.24. The aroma of freshly baked bread fills the air, and here, that scent is a little sweeter, with bread costing $3.34 in Knoxville, 3.23% less than the U.S. mean of $3.45. Dining delights continue as a hamburger is priced at $4.09, a considerable 16.81% savings from the country's average of $4.78, while a large pizza costs $9.99, being 7.29% more affordable than the U.S. rate of $10.72. Poultry lovers can savor two pieces of chicken at $3.69, relishing an 11.74% discount compared to the standard $4.12.

On the healthcare front, a visit to the doctor in Knoxville costs $102.6, marking a relief of 14.22% from the U.S. figure of $117.19. Even a trip to the dentist is lighter on the wallet, priced at $88.6, a friendly 14.19% less than the national average of $101.17. Filling up the gas tank is also a breeze at $2.6 per gallon, 7.75% cheaper than the country's $2.8. Lastly, the monthly energy bill in Knoxville averages $154.25, an 11.07% respite from the U.S. standard of $171.33. The overall cost of living in Knoxville is 16% lower than the national average, with housing prices being 29% more economical.

About Jennifer Whicker

Guiding her clients through the intricate maze of buying and selling homes, Jennifer Whicker melds a deep-rooted belief in happy home life with her innate professionalism. If you're looking to buy or sell a home or have any questions about the Knoxville real estate market, contact Jennifer Whicker today.

Work With Jennifer

With me, what you see is what you’ll get. I’ll give you honest advice, enable you to think outside the box, and will be patient and never pushy. I’ll help you with decision-making and advocating, and make sure everything is moving forward. Your peace of mind is my priority. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned seller, I’d love to be your Knoxville Realtor®.