Friday, April 11, 2014

How far will someone drive to live?

Well that's a loaded question. I think I would drive indefinitely rather than face the prospect of not living! I guess that title needs some clarification. In real estate the general rule of thumb is that people will drive to own but not to rent. That is to say someone is often willing to make a long commute if it allows them to buy a home they could not otherwise afford. Rentals in general however, are less so. People tend to rent in close to work. These are broad generalizations of course and some markets, like Seattle that have hyper-inflated pricing are exempt from that line of thinking.

I recently took a fabulous listing in Yacolt, WA. This house was completely remodeled down to the last nail. Well, almost the last nail anyway ;) The home is gorgeous and is priced at just $198k. This house in Vancouver wouldn't last the day at that price but in Yacolt, it sits quietly awaiting the lucky person that finds her. Yacolt isn't really all that far out. In fact it is a great little town of around 1,200 people nestled in the mountains at the entrance to the forest. There is a library, school, town hall, tavern, country store, etc. For the more urban amenities one need only travel to Battle Ground about 15 minutes away. Freddies, Safeway, Walmart (opening soon) and everything else you need on regular basis is right there. Virtually everything remaining can be had in the 'Couv' or Portland. In fact PDX is 45 minutes away according to map-quest it is 31 miles. That's about the same time and distance as Hillsboro, OR is to PDX.

It is all perspective. Yacolt is a small town and up in the hills. The scenery is breathtaking whereby Hillsboro in contrast is predominately urban all the way to the airport. During rush hour, Yacolt is faster to PDX than Hillsboro. Yet there is resistance to rural areas that are essentially closer than some urban counterparts to the "center" of the metro area.

For buyers this means there could be wonderful opportunities for tremendous value in a short drive. Rural towns lack some close in convenience but gain that amazing small town ambiance that cannot be duplicated in the city. Too many buyers miss a golden chance at the kind of living most people say they want in surveys, yet act differently when it comes time to look for a home.

here in Southwest Washington we have a variety of these less populated places that offer a chance to get away from it all with out getting too far away. La Center, Woodland, Amboy, Yacolt, Rural Washougal, etc. Before you dismiss that great house in that cute little town, take a drive and check it out, you may just become a believer.

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