How Does Clark County Compare on Housing Affordability?

Posted November 21, 2022 in Real Estate Trends

Scott Hogan, Clark County WA real estate agent

For both buyers and renters, how do cities within Clark County compare with other Washington cities for housing affordability? The Washington Center for Real Estate Research (at the University of Washington) keeps track of that.

For buyers, in the list below, the number 83 means that a household earning the median income has only 83% of the income required to qualify for a conventional mortgage on a median-priced house, assuming a 20% down payment, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and a maximum of 25% of gross household income applied to mortgage repayments.

Battle Ground 83
Camas 81
Ridgefield 70
Vancouver 68
Washougal 79

Vancouver and Ridgefield, according to the numbers, are least affordable, while Battle Ground is the most affordable. Missing from these calculations are the fact that many people work in one city (or an unincorporated area like Hazel Dell or unincorporated Clark County) and buy in another area. For comparison, Seattle is 60 and Mercer Island is least-affordable at 33.

For renters, a 100 on the list below means that a household earning the city’s median income can afford an average priced rental apartment without being overburdened (rent exceeding 30% of gross household income). Values above 100 indicate that the household has more than enough income, while values below 100 indicate that the household does not have enough income.

Battle Ground 159
Camas 208
Ridgefield 140
Vancouver 110
Washougal 148

Again, Vancouver is most expensive for renters, but Camas is calculated to be the most affordable for renters. Seattle is 135 and Pullman (Go Cougs!) is least affordable at 84 due to, apparently, the low incomes of students compared to rents paid. More local comparisons are Kelso and Longview at 114 and 111, respectively.

What does it all mean? Housing is expensive for both buyers and renters. The cure is increased incomes and more housing stock of all types, single-family, condos and multi-family. Each time that is said, I know some will say we should limit or stop growth and that by not building we can keep people from moving here and crowding the roadways. The result of that approach is less affordable housing.

Whatever your thoughts on growth or affordability, next time you are buying or selling real estate, specify Clark County Title! We want to be part of your real estate team!

From your friends at Clark County Title,