Concerns over property values emerge after TVA’s Boone Dam announcement

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The Tennessee Valley Authority said it will be at least five years before Boone Lake returns to normal levels. Now, folks who live around the lake are beginning to worry about their property values.

According to one real estate website, more than one hundred homes and properties are for sale around Boone Lake in Washington and Sullivan Counties. Prices range from a $35,000 piece of property, to multi-million dollar lake-front mansions.

Property values are appraised based on recent sales, and with what some are considering very bad news about the future of Boone Lake, some folks are worried that people will start selling their lake-front properties well below what they’re worth, and that will skew property values for everyone that lives on Boone.

Buff Barrett said he and his wife spent years deciding where to spend where to retire, and chose Boone Lake as the spot to spend what he calls “the Golden years.”

“Moved there last march, had a wonderful season on the lake, just a wonderful year, until October,” Barrett told TVA officials at Thursday’s public meeting.

He said his wife was also recently diagnosed with cancer, leading the couple to consider selling their home while they can.

“We’re retired, i’ll be in assisted living, somebody feeding me, drooling before you get this lake back probably,” Barrett said.

Residential Appraiser Steve Harris said short, fast sales are his biggest worry after Thursday’s announcement from TVA.

“What that’s going to do for the appraisers, is we’ve got to use historic data, well if all these fire sales start popping up and the values are lower, we’ve got to appraise them lower,” Harris told News Channel 11.

He said for many folks that are spending more than $500,000 on a lake-front home, a dip in property values would be bad news.

“Are people on the lake going to do what happened during the real estate bust, are they going to take the key to the bank, throw it on the desk and say ‘Its yours?’ I don’t know! We don’t know,” Harris said.

Realtor Colin Johnson said he thinks most people are going to ride this out for the next few years.

“I think they’re just going to wait it out, and then they’re going to be sitting pretty,” he told us.

Johnson said still, some people will choose to sell.

“In a year or two there’s probably going to be a few deals to be found on the lake,” he said.

Johnson adds the lack of water shouldn’t deter potential buyers. It’s still a great time to buy a house, so if you’re going to be in this house for the next 10 to 20 years, look at one on the lake, you can at least get a good value for your money.”

Both Harris and Johnson said it’s too early to tell exactly how this news will affect the market.

Harris said he suggested that TVA purchase some of the homes around Boone Lake to help keep the market steady and keep property values up over the next few years, an idea he said they seemed willing to discuss.Copyright WJHL 2015. All rights reserved.

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