As COVID-19 restrictions have led many people to work remotely, real estate agencies in the North Coast and Long Beach Peninsula are seeing a large influx of potential buyers.

Julia Radditz, owner and principal broker of Totem Properties, said her agency has seen an increase in prospective buyers who have indicated that they're considering a move to the coast due to the flexibility of their jobs and the move to online offices.

“For many, the luster of city life has disappeared this year, so people are exploring new housing options in which their income doesn't need to be tied to the local economy,” Radditz said. “While housing prices are increasing quickly here at the North Coast, they're still relatively affordable compared to many of the larger metro areas.”

Leslie Brophy, owner and broker of Pacific Realty, is also seeing more people looking for homes on the Long Beach Peninsula.

“COVID-19 has proven to them they can work from anywhere and they might as well come to their lifelong dream of living at the beach,” Brophy said, adding that many kids have the option to attend school remotely as well. “People want to get out of the city and get into an environment with less craziness.”

According to a recent analysis by real estate website Redfin, pageviews of houses in towns with less than 50,000 residents went up by 87% year over year in May.

Brophy said she’s also seeing an uptick in buyers looking for additional living spaces for family members, along with an increase in multiple generations wanting to live together.

Radditz said many of the potential new homeowners on the North Coast are from Seattle, Portland and California. But the increased interest in living on the coast is exacerbating the already-tight housing market, rendering many houses unaffordable for the local population.

According to the Regional Multiple Listing Service, there is high demand for homes in Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln counties, and people are willing to pay more. RMLS reported that average residential property sales prices in the North Coast rose by 7.6% to $395,300 over the year in August.

In Clatsop County alone, the average sale price went up by 16.49% to $457,856 over the year in September. Meanwhile, the number of houses for sale dropped. In September 2019, there were 310 active listings, but in September 2020, there were only 131. 

Bruce Walker, Pacific County assessor, said home prices on the Long Beach Peninsula in general are relatively affordable, but increasing. 

“The trend of people moving here from out of the area and paying more than the assessed value has been going on for the past two years and it’s sped up since COVID started,” Walker said.

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