Clark County Real Estate Update
January 2018

The real estate market in clark County continued to strengthen as inventories fell from 2.0 to 1.8 months. Inventories do typically fall during the holidays as sellers avoid the related inconveniences of selling during the holidays. Buyers also take a break looking and typically return to the table on January 1. But the return of sellers listing homes usually does not occur until April. Counter intuitive, I know but that is historically the case. So while there will certainly be new listings between now and April, the major surge of new listings will occur from April through midsummer. This will be the window of opportunity for buyers. Now is the window of opportunity for sellers.

Are there Hot spots in the County where one can expect greater appreciation (in non-rural areas) according to RMLS? Last year at about this same time I reported that there were some hot as well as cold spots in the County. One may have presumed that, when just looking at market value, these hot areas were more desirable while the cold spot were to be avoided. Instead, with two years of stats to view, these hot and cold areas may be predictors of what is to come.

Last year I reported that Ridgefield was one of the lowest appreciating areas in the County, at 5.9%. One year later, Ridgefield jumped to an appreciation of 14% over the past 12 months.

The overall County has appreciated 10.5% the past 12 months and 10.2% in 2016.

I also reported last year that Cascade Park was the fastest appreciating area in the County at 25.3%. One year later Cascade Park was at only 6.4% appreciation.

The Appreciation Cycle Rule

Based on observations of two years of numbers for Clark County, there were two types of areas in value behavior: Those that were on a cycle and those where value appreciation remained steady.

Areas on a cycle would bounce up and down from one year to the next. It was as though the market was finding ignored neighborhoods and buying them up pushing up values. Then the next year with higher values the market would then ignore these same areas causing appreciation rates to slow. It is similar to a wind-whipped flag being pushed side to side.

For example,

A) The SW Heights area appreciated in 2016 at 10.5% while this past 12 months appreciation was only 1/2%.
B) The Lincoln/Hazel Dell area appreciated 13.7% in 2016 yet only 5.9% this last year.
C) N. Felida was at 10.5% in 2016 but jumped to 18.3% last year. Battle Ground was at 10.4% in 2016 then rose to 18.2% last year.
D) La Center in 2016 appreciated 12.4% while in 2017 appreciated at only 1.7%.
E) Yacolt was at 5.8% in 2016 and at 15% in 2017.
F) As mentioned above, Cascade Park went from 25.3% to  only 6.4% appreciation one year later.

If the Cycle Rule is correct, one might be inclined to make the following predictions  for 2018:

1) Cascade Park will be up again, well above the County average (15%+)
2) Ridgefield will be a bit below the County average but not a bottom feeder.
3) N. Felida will moderate closer to average appreciation.
4)Battle Ground will moderate closer to average appreciation.
5) La Center will rebound with well above average appreciation (15%+).
6) Yacolt will see well below average appreciation based on my cycle rule. However, I am a bit uncertain here because a bigger driver of rural areas is overall national market strength. Because we are expecting the market to remain strong, we should not see drops in Yacolt appreciation rates despite the cycle rule in 2018. However, when the overall market does weaken, Yacolt and other rural areas are typically the first to reveal the market change and are also hit the hardest as the result of a market change. Rural areas are also the last to recover. (As I have mentioned in earlier reports, the electric car revolution will have the effect of lessening these effects.)

Exceptions to the cycle rule

An obvious exception to the cycle rule is N. Hazel Dell. It has performed poorly for two years in a row. In 2016 it was at 5.4% appreciation while in 2017 it was at 3.9% appreciation. I suspect N. Hazel Dell will continue to perform well below average  in 2018. How do I explain this? For some reason this area is simply not in the market’s favor. The area is located between 134 St and 78th Street and west of I5.  I have no logical explanation. My intuition is that this area will rebound big time next year. That then would suggest this area is on a 2 year cycle rather then a 1 year cycle. (I look forward to reporting on this next year.)

Based on the last two years observations, some areas appear steadier. They may be above average or below average but appreciation remains consistent year after year. The intensity or size of their cycle is small. They are not as much subject to the whims or hysteria of the market.

For example,

A) The NW Heights area was at 14% for both years.
B) The NE Heights area  was at 7.1% in 2016 and 8.7%  in 2017.
C) Washougal was at 11% in 2016  and  2017.
D) The Evergreen HS area appreciated 12.2 then 10.7% in 2016 and 2017.
E) As mentioned above, Hazel Dell was at 5.4 and 3.9% appreciation.

Thank you for considering my theories. Please keep in mind these are not yet solid proven ideas, just possibilities. Looking at just 2 years of stats is way short of solid scientific research. Also, I suspect that if we have an unexpected war or major event causing instability of financial market then all rules are off and the market will head it’s own direction. I will have fun again next January with more observations and checking the accuracy of these ideas.

Lockbox activity remains strong suggesting buyers are still actively looking.  Interest rates have risen slightly this year but so far the increases have not affected buyer activity. Continued gentle rate increases are expected. If the increases remain small then we should see buyer interest continue. If there is a large jump in rates then it will almost certainly slow down buyer activity.

 Got Time For Coffee?

So many of us have questions about real estate.  Your questions are my chance to learn. Your special needs and wants are what motivate me each day.

One of my special transactions for the past months was a buyer, Joe, wanting to purchase 3 acres of prime developable land to create enough lots so his family and friends could buy and build a community. To help them evaluate the project,  I analyzed comparables for future market values and met with a planer for cost projections.

A long-time client with a special interest in downtown Vancouver property, Scott, is getting ready to close on a lot purchase. I received a tip from another long-time client of mine about this piece before it was listed by another agent. When she decided it would not work for her, I quickly called Scott who wrote an offer immediately.

Helping get  answers to your question  is what gets me up each morning. It is my purpose for being. If you have a question pertaining to real estate ( or chickens or composting for that matter)  fire away. I am eager to help.  And if you wish to meet for Coffee (or tea or lunch), let’s do it.
Thank you


My Inventory

I have a starter home built in 1992 in good condition that will be listed soon. Interested… let’s check it out before it hits the market.


I have  a new home on over 2 acres located in an unusually private setting just one minute from downtown Battle Ground. The home will have over 2800 square feet, all on one level. Two ponds line the driveway on the approach to the future home. For a tour, click on the link below.

I have several other 1 level homes on acreage that are nearing completion.
For details and a tour, please click on the links below or copy and paste the link into your browser:

KELSEY FAMILY FARM: Lily Comes to the Farm (The latest stories)

Wanting to do some pickling this year?
We will be growing pickling cucumbers and fennel this summer. Organically grown using compost matured on-site with our own materials including chicken and sheep manure.  Call or email in your orders and I will let you know when it is ready. Harvesting will occur in June through September. All orders are picked within hours of delivery and washed.

More about the Kelsey Family Farm can be found at
The brain child and owner of Kelsey Family Farm: Jonell Kelsey

Chris Kelsey, Keller Williams PP

Chris Kelsey, GRI, MBA
Managing Broker
Keller Williams Premier Partners
Cell: 360-921-2203
Efax: 360-702-0777
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