Clark County seeing economic growth, competitive housing market

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 9:25 PM PST
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CLARK COUNTY, Wash. (KPTV) - Clark County is growing nearly as fast as Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties combined, that’s according to a Portland Business Alliance State of the Economy report.

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John McDonagh says there are several factors contributing to growth in Clark County, including more housing units and commercial development.

“I think if you really take a look across Clark County, you’re going to see a number of developments akin to what’s going on in the waterfront,” McDonagh said. “That’s the most obvious, it’s our front door now. And we’re very glad to have it. But if you go to Camas, Washougal you see a lot of activity in both their downtowns.”

McDonagh spoke to the growth the greater Vancouver area is seeing in the service industry.

“We also had a tremendous explosion in the hospitality sector - so restaurants, taprooms, wine tasting,” McDonagh said. “I think we have now 20 wineries in Clark County and I’ve lost count of the brew pubs”

FOX 12 also spoke with Alex Luna, the owner of Kindred Homestead Supply.

She opened her shop in downtown Vancouver a little more than a year ago.

“This opportunity just came up and it’s such a cool historic building, I love that we’re on the main strip of Main Street right off of I-5 so we’re catching some of that traffic from Portland that’s coming,” Luna said. “I mean just the community vibe here you know across the street we have so many places that are family-owned and you know it’s like Cheers. Everybody knows your name, everybody knows your order.”

Michael Lary, the co-owner of The Source Climbing Center in downtown Vancouver also spoke with FOX 12.

Lary’s seen the transformation after opening ten years ago.

“Downtown’s changed radically,” Lary said. “I would say I definitely see a lot more just young professionals coming in and climbing with us.”

To top all of that, Clark County is dealing with an increasingly competitive housing market.

“Currently the average length of stay on the market is less than 30 days,” McDonagh said.

According to RMLS data FOX 12 received from the Clark County Association of Realtors, as of January 2022 there were 345 homes on the market.

That’s a 70% drop compared to January 2020 when there were more than 1100 homes available in Clark County.

The median home price also went up more than $100,000 in that time.

FOX 12 also asked McDonagh about any concerns of overcrowding given the popularity of moving and starting businesses in the greater Vancouver area.

McDonagh says the state has a growth management act that must be updated periodically and work is beginning on that now to identify land for jobs and urban growth boundaries.