Those large home sizes are contributing to the rising cost of homes in Vancouver, placing homeownership further out of reach for first-time homebuyers.
Median home prices in Vancouver are catching up with those in Portland — $583,900 compared with $599,100, according to the latest RMLS report.
In Clark County, median home costs have risen by almost 70 percent in the last five years, according to RMLS data.
“We’re headed for much more challenging times for people who want to buy an affordable house in Clark County,” Lamb said.
Larger lots mean more land, and Clark County is running out of that precious commodity.
“We have a tremendous shortage of lots for detached housing in Vancouver. Now, you’ve seen Ridgefield boom. Washougal, Camas — that’s kind of a safety valve,” Lamb said. “But at some point, we can see the end coming.”
As demand for houses in Clark County goes up and the supply of available land to build those houses goes down, housing costs will keep rising.
“We are going to be really constrained for people who want to buy a detached house, especially at an affordable price for the average person,” Lamb said.
One solution would be to reduce lot sizes and allow more homes to be built on a single lot, a concept referred to as cottage cluster communities.
In Clark County’s 2022 Housing Options Study and Action Plan, staff recommended reducing minimum lot sizes, increasing minimum density requirements in high-density zones to allow for smaller housing units and allow for more affordable “middle housing” (which includes cottage clusters) in certain areas.
But the county hasn’t adopted any of these policies yet — the Clark County Council is still deciding which ways the county will achieve more housing in smaller spaces.
The county’s next Technical Housing Code forum meeting where this topic is discussed is at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. A Zoom link for the meeting can be found on the county’s website.
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