Friday, February 24, 2017

Cowlitz County seeing a surge

Listed at $180,000
I have clients that are finding it increasingly difficult bordering on impossible to find a livable house under $200k in Clark County. Some of these clients are looking north to Cowlitz County including the Longview and Kelso area.

Longview was once a prolifically wealthy city. It was one of America's earliest planned communities. It is also a city along with its sister Kelso, that went through a tremendous economic crisis in the 1990s when changes in electric power helped lead to the demise of thousands of jobs when several large plants at the Port of Longview closed down. Just as the area was beginning to crawl out of that terrible hole, the big economic national crash happened in 2009.

Real estate in that area has remained quite affordable. For those considering a drive to Vancouver or Portland, Longview and Kelso are at exit 36 on I5 and that means it is 42 miles to Downtown Portland. That's a bit of haul but the silver lining in the commuter hell cloud is that most of that 42 miles will be at the limit of 70 mph. (60mph in Vancouver) In fact generally it is not until one reaches 39th street in Vancouver that the traffic becomes everyday heavy.

That said I was showing some charming homes in nice neighborhoods for under $200k. These weren't large or modern homes, but clean, well kept older 1940s and 50s homes with some upgrades and light remodeling and move in ready. Try to find a nice 1400 foot house in the 'Couv' for under $200k. The home pictured was listed at $180,000 and was located in a very nice neighborhood with well kept homes. In some of the neighborhoods where things have not yet recovered, there are homes listed under $100,000. These of course are in need of work and are in neighborhoods still suffering from depressed conditions.

Clark County hasn't seen prices like these since the bottom of the market in 2010-11. Cowlitz County can be a great place to get a starter house at a price even the most modest earners can afford. The monthly mortgage payment on a $180k house with $6300 down would be around $1200 or less than a typical 2 bedroom apartment in the 'Couv'.

Longview and Kelso, just up the road and still very affordable.

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