Friday, February 3, 2017

Washington Now 3rd Most Expensive in USA

The State of Washington has managed to climb its way to the upper echelon of home prices for America according to a report last year by the Seattle Times. The statewide median price of $307k last summer placed Washington State 3rd on the list of 50 US states behind #2 California and #1 Hawaii.

Here in Clark County we enjoy relatively inexpensive pricing compared to nearby Portland, OR and well under half what homes cost in Seattle. In fact Clark County remains one of the value propositions in the Northwest.

Affordability is not just based on median or average home prices, but also median or average incomes. For example if the median income in city A is $150,000 and the median home price in $1,000,000 then that city has more affordable housing than city B with a median home price of $200,000 and a median income of $30,000. This is why Seattle with its $700,000 plus median still has huge demand for real estate, they have a median income running close to $80,000 which is about $15k higher than the median here in Clark County.

We have an interesting dichotomy in real estate here in Clark County. Portland is just across the river and they have been built out for decades. They have a genuine shortage of housing, but they don't have the ultra high incomes seen up in Seattle. Portland in many ways is more expensive than Seattle. The median income in Portland is right at $60k and that is about $7000 higher than Vancouver or approximately 12% higher but Portland's median home price is a whopping 25% higher than Vancouver. This puts Vancouver in a high demand position as it offer close in proximity at a significant savings.

Clark County, unlike Portland and most of Multnomah County has a fair amount of build able land within the urban growth boundary. This will keep Clark County competitive on home pricing and that is good for us and very good for buyers.

2017 could be a great year of moderation for us in the market. I am deliberately using the word "great" to describe a moderate condition, because a rapid run up in pricing creates a climate for volatility. This market is pretty healthy right now.

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