Summary: If you’re a first-time homebuyer searching for a home in Pierce County, you may find that home prices are rather high in many centers in the county. But there are also several affordable areas in Pierce County that you can find that will fit in better with your budget.
Washington State is known for its expensive housing markets, particularly in places like King County where big cities like Seattle reside. But there are also plenty of affordable markets throughout the state, and Pierce County offers many of them. As of January 2020, the average home price in Pierce County is $377,000, which is slightly lower than the statewide average of $413,000.
Affordability is a huge issue for many homebuyers, especially first-time buyers who do not have the proceeds of a sale from another home to put towards a new home purchase. The good news is, however, that there are a number of affordable neighborhoods in Pierce County that are below the county-wide average, making home buying a lot easier for first-timers to get into the real estate market.
Here are the more affordable areas in Pierce County for first-time homebuyers to look at.
1. Tacoma, WA
Perhaps one of the best places in Pierce County for first-time homebuyers to check out is Tacoma. A major center in the county, Tacoma offers plenty of housing types, employment opportunities, amenities, and entertainment options for local residents, all without having to break the bank to live there. Tacoma is also only an hour’s drive to Seattle.
Tacoma’s median home price is lower than the county-wide average. As of this writing, the average price in the city is $337,940, which is about $40,000 lower than Pierce County’s overall home price average. Not only are home prices on the lower end in Tacoma, but they’re also rising at a healthy rate. According to real estate research firm Zillow, home prices in Tacoma have risen 7.3% over the past year and are expected to rise by another 4.9% over the next 12 months.
This presents first-time buyers with the prime opportunity to get into this sizzling-hot real estate market and take advantage of the rapid appreciation that is likely to occur in the city. Getting in the market sooner rather than later will afford buyers with lower prices before they continue to rise. And with today’s super-low interest rates, home buying in Tacoma is even more affordable.
2. Lakewood, WA
Lakewood is the second-biggest city in Pierce County and is considered a suburb of Tacoma. That said, it’s not that large, with a population of around 60,000, making for the perfect place to take advantage of a suburban feel without the congestion of the average metropolis. There are plenty of employment opportunities in Lakewood, with the Joint Base Lewis–McChord military base providing many jobs to residents.
Right now, the average home value in Lakewood is $345,000, which is also under the average across the entire Pierce County. Similar to Tacoma, Lakewood is going through a very hot housing market right now, with home prices having shot up 7.4% over the past year with another 5.2% increase expected over the next 12 months. Again, this presents a great opportunity for first-time buyers to get their hands on affordable housing while riding the wave of price appreciation to help build equity in their homes more quickly.
3. Orting, WA
A much smaller center compared to Tacoma and Lakewood, Orting is located about a 35-minute drive southeast of Tacoma. Considering the relatively feasible commute to Tacoma and all the employment opportunities it provides, Orting is a great choice for those who prefer a more suburban and even rural feel while still taking advantage of close proximity to employment, amenities, and entertainment that a larger city center can offer. Many families call Orting home and can take advantage of above-average rated schools.
Orting’s average home value is currently $369,300. Following a similar trend to Tacoma and Lakewood, Orting’s home prices have risen by an impressive 7.0% over the past year according to Zillow, and are expected to rise 5.0% over the 12 months. First-time buyers can take advantage of relatively affordable prices compared to the likes of Seattle while being able to enjoy the current warmer temperatures of the local real estate market.
4. Graham, WA
Graham is a suburb of Tacoma with a population of around 30,000. Residents enjoy a suburban-rural vibe with many families calling Graham home. Most people tend to own in this mid-sized city as opposed to renting, especially when considering the relatively affordable cost to buy in comparison. Interestingly, rent prices are somewhat high in Graham at an average of $2,010. Mortgages payments can certainly be much more affordable with an average price of $386,700 in the city.
The trend for rapid price appreciation also applies to Graham, which has seen home prices increase 6.4% over the past year. Homeowners can expect the value of their homes to increase by another 4.8% over the course of the next 12 months. First-time homebuyers looking for affordability in housing while enjoying a suburban feel that’s still only a 40-minute drive to Tacoma will find Graham a great option.
5. Sumner, WA
Sumner is a small-to-mid-sized city a short drive east of Tacoma. With a median home price of $387,700, Sumner is a rather affordable option for first-time homebuyers who are looking to be close to the action of Tacoma but prefer a quieter suburban feel that a place like Sumner is able to offer.
Those who want to commute into the larger nearby metropolises can do so easily thanks to the Sounder commuter rail that stops at the station in downtown Sumner and directly connects the city to most of the Puget Sound region, including Tacoma and Seattle. Again, prices in Sumner have already risen quite a bit over the past year and are expected to rise by about 4.2% over the next 12 months, according to Zillow.
Affordability in Pierce County
Buying a relatively affordable home in Pierce County is feasible, especially for first-time homebuyers who may have a limited budget to dedicate to a home purchase. But with many options in Pierce County and the assistance of a sound real estate and mortgage team, there’s no reason why first-time buyers looking in Pierce County can’t find the home of their dreams without breaking the bank.
Want to Apply For a Mortgage in Pierce County?
If you’re a first-time homebuyer looking to buy a home in Pierce County, you’ll need a home loan to help you finance this big purchase. If so, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a family-owned Mortgage Company that proudly serves all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. We offer many mortgage programs with flexible qualification criteria. Get in touch with Sammamish Mortgage today!