Nashville Becoming ‘Chic Urban Playground for the Wealthy,’ Vanderbilt Professor Tells Wall Street Journal

Nashville City at night

The Wall Street Journal has taken notice of how Nashville is becoming gentrified and is in danger of becoming a “chic urban playground for the wealthy.”

James Fraser, an urban studies professor at Vanderbilt University, told The Wall Street Journal the city needs 30,000 more units of affordable housing and should spend $1 billion to meet the demand. Working people are being pushed to outer suburbs and rely on buses to reach their jobs, while wealthier people are moving into inner neighborhoods, he said.

Affordable housing has long been a benefit of living in the South, said Laurel Graefe, deputy regional executive of the Nashville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. While corporate incentives and low taxation are still attractive, housing demand has outstripped supply, raising prices.

From 2008 to 2018, housing values, based on a weighted measure of all transactions in the housing market, rose 75 percent in Nashville, compared with 33 percent in Charlotte, according to the Brookings Institution.

The Wall Street Journal story discussed the trend of tearing down older homes and building “tall skinnies”—multistory homes geared toward wealthier home buyers.

Much of the issue is from rapid economic growth, the story says.

The Nashville region population grew 45 percent from 2000 to 2017, reaching about 1.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the city had an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent—lower than any other major metro area in the U.S. From 2010 to 2016, Tennessee’s large urban areas, led by Nashville, accounted for 57 percent of all employment growth in the state, citing the Brookings Institution.

Nashville has become a destination for corporations like AllianceBernstein Holding LP and a finalist in the search for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The story also mentions the transit plan that voters rejected May 1, but fails to mention the $9 billion price tag.

Mark Deutschmann, president of Nashville real-estate company Village Real Estate Services, said Metro Nashville should work with developers to build out public transit corridors and encourage building more homes for under $200,000.







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5 Thoughts to “Nashville Becoming ‘Chic Urban Playground for the Wealthy,’ Vanderbilt Professor Tells Wall Street Journal”

  1. Stifling

    I moved to Nashville because I loved the down-home, friendly atmosphere and beauty of this city, Those characteristics are quickly vanishing due to the hustle and bustle of this metropolis that has quickly erupted. I do not like the massive growth; a growth our politicians have brain-washed many into believing IT IS GOOD FOR THE CITY. I am not buying it…it is not good for the city. I see older, historic homes being demolished and in their place mega mansions several stories tall, almost appearing to be ocean liners lined up beside each other. It looks ridiculous, but even more ridiculous…people are buying them!!! To each their own I suppose. I recently was downtown at 10pm and the CROWDS are enormous. Politicians and businessmen will say this is good for the city. I don’t like the crowds. I like to get from point A to B in a reasonable amount of time without a delay. That is not happening anymore. Good for the city??? I like to go to the opera occasionally…got stuck in downtown gridlock on a single street for 20 minutes!!! Good for the city? I take out of town guests downtown to see the honky tonks. The throngs of people are bone crushing. You cannot walk without bumping into someone. Good for the city??? I guess that is the price to pay for living in the new LA.

  2. Brian McMurphy

    Rent control. What a great idea, Douchemann.

    Maybe they can hold a corrupt lottery with organizations that supported the Mayor to see who gets that choice $200k house.

    Will they be able to afford the obscene property taxes? The upkeep? Maintenance?

    Nowhere mentioned is the word “crime”. Because it is out of control.

  3. lb

    This is the very reason we just bought a house we are rehabbing in Sumner Co. We are close enough to go where we want and are free of the corrupt Metro Govt AND taxes in about 6 months. I couldnt be happier about it!

  4. Wolf Woman

    I remember when I was young natives wanting Nashville to be an Atlanta or a Dallas. Well everyone worked hard and was nice to the tourists and here we are, thanks to air conditioning and a song filled soap opera tv series.

  5. 83ragtop50

    Oh, the price paid for being the “It City”. Thank you Nashville-Davidson government for turning a great small city into a big cesspool. Growth at any cost – yeah, right. Have fun in your self-imposed dump.