RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was recently named the #1 “boom town” in the United States, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee continues to grow by the day.

“We’re growing a lot,” said Rob Mitchell, Rutherford County’s property assessor. “Everybody wants to move here.”

But some, like Mitchell, believe Rutherford County’s popularity is prompting unwanted attention with one in ten of their single-family homes now owned by a real estate investment trust (REIT).

For many residents in Rutherford County, it’s no laughing matter.

“We have a lot of traffic we didn’t have before,” Shauna Mason said, a realtor with the Ashton Real Estate Group of REMAX Advantage. “We have growing pains of course with infrastructure.”

Even so, the county continues to grow, with data showing the area’s top 10 builders are choosing to build in Rutherford County the most. “We will have nearly 5,000 new single-family residential properties a year, come on,” Mitchell said.

According to Greater Nashville Realtors, there were more than 7,700 closings on homes in 2021. Many of those homes are in new subdivisions, which Mitchell said are popping up everywhere.

“There are several new communities going in off of Rocky Fork, Almaville Road in Smyrna. We also have some going in near the Siegle Oakland area. Then there’s a large community going in by the Cason Trailhead in Murfreesboro,” Mason said.

Most, if not all of these homes, are rising in price.

“Two years ago, our average home price was $289,000. Now, we’re easily in the mid $300,000, so they’ve drastically gone up,” Mason said.

Greater Nashville Realtors says prices of homes in Rutherford County have jumped 70% in the last five years.

“The average person on the street, they know growth is crazy. They know rent is escalating. They see that it’s nearly impossible to find an affordable home in the community they want to live in,” Mitchell said. “They know there is something wrong, they don’t know exactly what it is.”

But Mitchell does — he says trusts are manipulating Rutherford County’s residential housing market, with nearly 10% of homes owned by a REIT.

“It’s happening in Murfreesboro, kind of all over in West Murfreesboro in the Blackman area, it’s happening in the Lake Forest area, especially in La Vergne, and it’s happening in the western part of Smyrna,” Mitchell said, adding that these are the areas with the fastest growth.

“I think it’s great individual investors take the risk in our community to build homes, but the REITs are not our local developers, these are real estate investment trusts, their only interest is making a profit.”

Mitchell says the REITS continue to buy up Rutherford County’s much-needed inventory and rent it out, creating an inventory crisis, which is driving home prices up even more.

Nashville housing prices are driving some buyers well outside of Davidson County. News 2 explores the opportunity and the impact in those communities in a special series Moving Out.

“People are mad,” Mitchell said.

A high price to pay for popularity.