According to the latest data from Clark County Regional Multiple Listing Service, the number of homes for sale increased by 10% from last year and risen $350,000 in price for median homes. Not only that, but the demand from buyers has also increased. Despite the rise on the home price tag, the demand and willingness of buyers to pay are really significant. However, home affordability continues to be a struggle and first-time buyers may not be able to pay the increased cost for those homes. But compared to Portland and Seattle, Clark County is still relatively cheaper.
According to data by the state Office of Financial Management, the population in Clark County increased 1.8% in over a year, making it the 8th fastest-growing county in Washington, but that growth has also been slowly decreasing compared to recent years. The cause for this price increase could be because of new arrivals to Clark County. Another reason could be due to the fact that Oregon and California have high state income taxes and Washington doesn’t. Because of this, people are looking at these places for retirement. There’s also Washington’s businesses, beautiful and natural surroundings, and a mild climate that attracts people there.
For homes in rural areas such as around the Ridgefield and La Center area and east of Amboy, has hit $500,000 in their median sale price this year so far. Ridgefield itself hit $390,000, while La Center hit $360,000. Camas and Brush Prairie, which are the busiest cities, topped at $469,900 and $395,000 in their sale price, respectively. For Battle Ground, the median home prices were $343,500 and for Washougal, it was $409,900.
The Office of Financial Management also saw that multi-family structure homes covered 52% of all new housing. Although a lot of single-family homes are being built, the construction of apartment buildings and multi-family homes are hot in demand. Following an effective real estate digital marketing strategy, owners of multi-family homes, apartment buildings, and real estate brokers will be able to attract and close deals much more quickly with a good profit margin from the high demand. In fact, according to data compiled by Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick, more multi-family homes are being built than single-family homes with more than 1,400 new multi-family units and 1,300 single-family residences. The number of multi-family housing is 42% in Clark County.
According to Jon Spikkeland, a senior associate of consulting firm Johnson Economics, the effects of the foreclosure crisis was initially the main reason for apartments’ high demand for years. However, that change is down driven by job growth. Nearly 75% of new jobs created between 2016 and 2017 were filled by workers who were under the age of 35. Those workers rent due to them not having credit for homeownership and no savings. With the rising cost of median-priced homes, buying a house is a far reach for first-time homebuyers. As home prices rise and the amount of buildable land becomes smaller, attached homes such as townhouses, duplexes, and cottage-style houses are more affordable to middle-income residents.
Managing broker for ReMax equity group in Vancouver, Terry Wollam, stated that the costs of building an attached home are the same as a detached one. The difference in cost comes down to the size of the lot and setbacks between attached houses. Attached housings sometimes turn into condos, which is linked with liabilities for condo developers and that may discourage its construction. However, the Clark County Council has recently approved a resolution that supports the Legislature’s effort to redraft the state’s Condominium Act in order to “address concerns about excessive litigation risk, and encourage construction of affordable condominiums while maintaining consumer protections.” This amended law would make attached homes even more appealing to residents.
Vancouver’s zoning codes trail behind other jurisdictions regarding being favorable towards high-density development, despite it being Clark County’s most urban and populated city. As of now, the city allows lots averaging 5,000 square feet. The is the city is thinking about creating zones that will allow denser single-family housing. Other Washington jurisdictions are looking for options for expanding to allow attached housing in low-density neighborhoods. While Battle Ground allows single-family lot that is as small as 3,000 square feet and allows duplexes on corner lots, Vancouver doesn’t. Camas, on the other hand, doesn’t have a lot of lands that is denser than 7,500 square feet and doesn’t allow duplexes in single-family housing zones. Discussions regarding the zoning changes are currently underway and if it is adopted, it could lead to more diversity in housing types for Vancouver.