While Seattle’s tight housing market has held the attention of the media since the tech industry has firmly taken root, the population spill-over into other parts of Greater Puget Sound is no more evident than the next major port city just south: Tacoma.

Last week, Tacoma’s own daily newspaper, The News Tribune, reported on the swift real estate momentum in its backyard and cited how real estate company and industry tracker Redfin named Tacoma “fastest-selling metro market nationwide” as of January 2020. Further discussion from Tacoma’s own city council members identified a pain point in the dearth of affordable housing– specifically a lack of multifamily housing, duplexes, and townhomes.

Tacoma was the fastest-selling national market, with half of all homes pending sale in just 23 days, down from 36 days a year earlier. Rochester, NY and Buffalo, NY were the next fastest markets with 28 and 29 median days on market, followed by Omaha, NE (31) and Sacramento, CA (33), Redfin reported. Compounding things, a Northwest Multiple Listing Service report on January sales characterized the Tacoma area as “virtually sold out” of homes under $500,000.

Similar to what Seattle encountered two years ago at the height of the “home grab,” Tacoma is now experiencing swift sales and a lack of housing scaled to the area’s wage earners.  In the article, City Council member Chris Beale noted the duplex and townhouse “middle inventory” is what is missing, and the effort for housing diversity needs to be accelerated.

The city is developing an action strategy to address housing affordability, according to a recent statement from Mayor Victoria Woodards; this takes shape in creating new housing, helping to keep existing housing affordable and maintained, and helping reduce barriers for people among other efforts. Council members agree that the new data showing Tacoma homes selling faster than anywhere else in the country only underscores the need to create affordable housing, whether rentals or homes for sale. The city also posted a request for proposals to develop an ambitious Housing Action Plan.

In the meantime, Tacoma’s downtown has undergone aggressive development, attractive shopping and dining outposts have popped up in Brewers Row and along the mixed-use Point Ruston Waterfront, and added transit infrastructure is in progress. With the influx of buyers comes the need for additional commercial development and mixed-use projects incorporating both residential and retail.

What does this mean for investors and developers? Tacoma’s situation poses an immense opportunity as a market that needs both housing and reinvigorated commercial development. Our goal at Juniper is to help you achieve quality real estate investments throughout the Pacific Northwest. Juniper Capital provides private real estate financing, including hard money loans for commercial, construction, multi-family residential opportunities and more. If you would like more information on this topic, call us today.