Friday, September 14, 2018

Millennials want in but pricing pushing them out

Apartments and Condos Overlooking
Esther Short Park, Vancouver, WA
The younger crowd is energetic about moving into the "city" but high pricing is pushing them towards the peripheral areas. It is a classic real estate scenario that has played out time and again. How far is one willing to commute to get a nice place they can own or even rent at an affordable price?

Portland and Vancouver have become expensive with rising rents and the gentrification of older areas once run down lead to some younger people seeking the urban lifestyle in a more affordable locale. Some people on the north side of the Columbia are being pushed all the way into Cowlitz County to find a place they can call home without being married to the landlord so to speak.

Generally, real estate prices in areas where there is good employment, high paying jobs, and lots of infrastructure are expensive and areas with less opportunity are more reasonable. This is not an absolute of course, but it does hold true most of the time.

Down in the San Francisco Bay Area before the big market crash in 2008, it was not uncommon for people to buy a house in California's Central Valley in cities like Lodi, Stockton, and Manteca and then commute into the Bay Area some 100 miles away. This of of course is a terrible drag on ones lifestyle.

Here in the Metro Portland-Vancouver area we haven't seen that kind of crazy. In fact people around here tend to think 20 miles out is the Moon. But more and more people seeking a house with a little elbow room are finding themselves a bit further and further away from the core city. Places like Longview and Kelso up in Cowlitz County have had depressed pricing for a long time, but they are starting to see a surge in activity as people seeking to own, move further North form Portland and Vancouver.

Vancouver WA Waterfront development including
apartments and condos overlooking the Columbia River
Millennials meanwhile are biting hard on the urban apartments going up in Downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Waterfront, Portland's Pearl District and other areas with urban gentrification happening. Hipsters have gobbled up all the classic 1920s houses in Portland and Vancouver pushing values out of reach for many.

If our city leaders do a good job and attract high paying employers to our clearly desirable area, we can all benefit from this surge. Keep that in mind when you vote for City Council and County Commission positions. 

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