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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark County real estate illustrates the rule: It’s all about location

A few miles can mean a home-price difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: June 14, 2024, 6:03am

Some say that if you close your eyes, click your heels three times and say, “Location, location, location,” a Clark County real estate agent will appear.

Despite the median $500,000-to-$550,000 price of Clark County homes, there are top- and bottom-dollar properties for buyers to explore. A few miles can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as a map created by The Columbian shows.

Clark County is a region with diverse housing, from mid-century and older homes near the waterfront to newly constructed, four-bedroom homes tucked farther into the county.

Of course, newly constructed homes are going to be priced higher. The cost of building has gone up in recent years due to inflation, driving those prices even higher, experts say.

According to May data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service, the 15 homes sold west of Interstate 5 had the highest median price in the county — $1,130,000. The eight homes sold in mid-central Clark County had the second-highest median price in the county at $825,000.

But those transactions make up a small number of the homes sold. Most homes are bought in Hazel Dell, Evergreen, Camas, Washougal, North Salmon Creek, Ridgefield, North Felida, Battle Ground and Brush Prairie, RMLS data shows.

People have bought the highest number of homes this year — 212, to be exact — in Brush Prairie, where the median home price has been $583,500.

Mike Lamb, a Vancouver broker with Windermere Stellar, said this is due to a influx of new construction east of state Highway 503 and south of Northeast 119th Street.

Rural Clark County has more available land to build on and more inventory, Lamb said. However, that can drive average prices up, because those homes are mostly new construction.

Homes sold in Brush Prairie so far this year have cost $100,000 more on average than homes sold near downtown Vancouver.

Despite being an area in high demand for buyers, downtown Vancouver has had some of the lowest median prices in the county this year. The median home sold for $425,000 in that area.

“There’s almost no new construction going on in downtown for houses,” Lamb said.

The houses in downtown Vancouver are often older and some require repairs, he said, lowering the average price.

One of the stark divides in price is in Vancouver Heights. The median sale price for homes on the northwest side was just shy of $400,000, while homes on the southwest side cost on average at least $100,000 more.

The houses on the northwest side are primarily smaller and older, Lamb said, while houses on the southwest side have larger lots and face the Columbia River.

“You can’t find big lots anymore. (Southwest Heights) is a nice area, and it’s super convenient,” Lamb said. “Go north, and you have much less expensive housing there.”

Across the board, all locations on the map have higher median sale prices than a few years ago, when it was more common to see houses sell for less than $400,000.

Lamb has been producing monthly reports on Clark County’s housing market for three decades.

“It’s only been in the last few years that we’ve seen prices get where they are,” he said. “Now, it’s stunning to me.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.