Lifestyle and opportunity keep county’s real estate market moving

The average price of homes in Clark County is nearly ten percent higher than it was this time last year

Pamela Saunders

It is an exciting time to be a resident of Clark County. Growth is enhancing our lifestyle and offering many opportunities. Downtown Vancouver is taking on a whole new shape. Several new restaurant owners are throwing their hats into the ring to have the opportunity to be part of the new downtown, as it is becoming the new place to be.

Condominium and apartment buildings are being built to accommodate those that want to be part of the downtown lifestyle. A six-story, 167-unit development with ground-floor retail space and a mix of living spaces from studios to large two-bedroom units with a glass-fronted balcony is expected to bring a new swanky look. Downtown will have a full 30,000-square-foot grocery store – which it has never had – and this is a testament to how much the population is expected to grow. The downtown waterfront area has plans for a public marketplace (at Terminal 1), new hotels and commercial and retail space – with walking paths that will connect to existing waterfront paths. It will take on a whole new vibe!

At the north end of the county, the newly-opened ilani Casino Resort is bringing many jobs to our area and will draw a large number of visitors. Elsewhere, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute program is expanding to Clark County at Legacy Health Center. WSU is expanding the university’s research and innovation programs in order to grow its student body. With a new master’s degree program in electrical engineering and four new majors to support the region’s tech sector, there are more reasons for students in the area to stay local for continuing education.

How does all of this affect the real estate market? It’s all about supply and demand, and the supply is low and the demand is high. Clark County has seen significant growth in the number of new residents since 2015, at which time we started to see the beginning of low inventory levels. Current inventory is at 1.1 months supply of existing homes and a little over 110 new construction homes are not yet ready for occupancy. Sellers have been reluctant to put their house on the market for fear of not being able to find a home to purchase. However, in March, new listings rose 44 percent over February, possibly meaning more confidence in finding the right home.

The average price of homes ending March 31 of 2017 is $334,000 – an increase of 9.6 percent over 2016. The highest movement is in the $250,000-$400,000 price range. Pricing your home is still extremely important as buyers are entering the market well-educated. The average market time in 2017 is relatively the same as 2016 – about 65 days.

Pending sales are down a bit at 5.3 percent, but overall had a 24 percent gain over February 2017. There are still a lot of buyers out there who are eager to find a home to purchase. Interest rates are up a bit, but still low enough to be attractive. Buyers need to be diligent in looking for homes if they need to find one quickly or in the most competitive price range. Buyers could be looking at multiple offer situations, which can drive the price over the list price.

As many companies enter Clark County, so do jobs. Unemployment for Washington state has fallen to 4.9 percent, and Clark County has been a large contributor to those numbers. The real estate market looks to stay steady due to these factors for possibly the next few years.

It is all about supply and demand, but people move for lifestyle and accessibility. The new enhancements to communities throughout Clark County are predictive of our real estate market continuing to be strong.

Pamela Saunders is the principal managing broker of Coldwell Banker Seal’s Vancouver West office. She can be reached at 360.910.3600.