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Which Cities in Tennessee Have the Most Basements?

Homes with basements are not evenly distributed across Tennessee. Find out which cities have the most basements and what is driving basement construction trends.

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Regional construction trends across Tennessee mean that some parts of the state have more homes with basements. In this new real estate report, we’ll explore what cities in Tennessee have the most basements and what factors are driving the trends in basement foundation design. 

cities in tennessee that have the most basements

What Percent of Tennessee Homes Have Basements?

To identify which parts of Tennessee have the highest concentration of basements, we turned to real estate transaction records. Using Zillow data on recently sold homes, we can calculate the percentage of homes that have basements. The data below looks at single-family homes in each county, and both finished and unfinished basements are included. 

The analysis reveals that the eastern Tennessee cities of Morristown and Kingsport have the highest concentration of homes with basements. About 42 to 44 percent of houses in these counties have basements. 

By contrast, the west Tennessee cities of Memphis, Clarksville, and Jackson have very few basements with only two to seven percent of homes in these counties having basements. Other cities fall in the middle of the pack. Chattanooga, Nashville, and Knoxville each have about 17 to 21 percent of homes with basements. 

Tennessee County and City Percent of Homes with Basements
Hamblen County (Morristown)44%
Sullivan County(Kingsport)42%
Washington County (Johnson City)39%
Bradley County (Cleveland)26%
Anderson County (Oak Ridge)25%
Blount County (Maryville)23%
Knox County (Knoxville)21%
Putnam County (Cookeville)20%
Davidson County (Nashville)17%
Hamilton County (Chattanooga)17%
Montgomery County (Clarksville)15%
Maury County (Columbia)12%
Williamson County (Franklin)10%
Sumner County (Hendersonville)10%
Madison County (Jackson)7%
Rutherford County (Clarksville)2%
Shelby County (Memphis)2%

Why Are Basements More Common In Some Areas?

Basement foundations are a structural decision that’s based on several factors. 

The first determining factor is the frost line. In colder climates, northern states, or higher elevations, the deeper frost line requires a deeper foundation. Freezing soil can cause a home to shift or destabilize. That’s why basements are more common in colder climates because the deep foundation anchors the home below the frost line. This is part of the reason why the mountainous counties in eastern Tennessee have more basements. 

Another issue affecting basement design is the slope of the terrain. Homes built on hills or mountains are more likely to have basements because homes are typically designed to create level floors by cutting into the slope. This creates a convenient walk-out basement that’s only partially underground. 

The quantity of homes with basements is also affected by local water risks. In areas that have a high water table or that flood frequently, basements are less common because the below-grade spaces can sustain more water damage. Slab foundations or crawl spaces are much more common in these regions. 

What’s the Future of Basement Design?

Basements are playing a new role in today’s real estate market. A recent report from Homes.com found that after the onset of COVID-19, there has been a fourfold increase in homebuyers looking for homes with basements. These flexible spaces are in high demand as homeowners need additional square footage for home offices, homeschooling, home gyms, and more.

This recent trend may increase the number of homes that are built with basements. We are already seeing more homeowners refinish their basements as a part of the 2021 home renovation boom. By transforming a damp, unusable basement into a part of the home, homeowners are making a smart investment that can increase their property value by as much as 70 percent 

As homeowners make their basements more functional, basement waterproofing is a critical step that helps protect floors, drywall, and furniture from flooding and moisture seepage. Find out how AFS can help you transform your basement with a free consultation from our basement waterproofing experts. 

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