New home sales: Great deals at center of state, end of runway

Sep 6, 2011

Great deals on new homes can be found on the plains and near the planes.

That's the word from Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar. New developments on the  flatlands of  Quincy, Wash., and the "loud lands" near Sea-Tac Airport are being built and sold at a pretty fast clip. Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard there are some interesting reasons for that.

Quincy's motto is "Where agriculture meets technology." Ag related industries there include processing, shipping and storage with 200,000 acres of irrigated land growing all types of seed and vegetable crops, as well as soft fruits.

Tourism is also big. The Gorge Amphitheater is only 10 miles away and the Crescent Bar Recreation area provides hunting, fishing and boating.  Hagar says people are finding work there and buying new homes in the $150,000 price range.

"Their income may be less than what they were making in western Washington but the cost of living is lower, electricity costs less, the weather is good and it's less crowded."

Near the planes

As for the new houses bordering Sea-Tac Airport, Hagar points to a new subdivison called Chestnut Hills with 16-18 lots in Burien. Those developers are selling 3-5 bedroom homes in the $275,000 to $325,000 price range. And, he says, that includes the extra sound proofing. 

"When I asked who was buying these I was told the buyers didn't want to deal with foreclosures or short sales because the sales take too long. They wanted new construction."

Hagar also asked the developers why they were spending so much money here.

"They told me that they'd only consider building  in Washington or Texas right now because of the steady population growth in both states."

Then he added: "I've been talking about Washington's population growth for some time now and the fact that it's growing faster than in many other parts of the nation. That's  important to the real estate market."

Street Cents” is a monthly feature exploring real estate trends in the Northwest. The feature is published here and airs on KPLU 88.5 on the first Tuesday of the month during Morning Edition, All Things Considered and on Weekend Saturday Edition.