The Clark County Luxury Market: What You Need to Know

The Clark County Luxury Market: What You Need to Know

  • David Merrick
  • 11/3/23

Clark County, Washington, offers a blend of urban and natural elements, making it an exceptional luxury real estate market.

Although well-known and deeply appreciated by longtime locals, first-time visitors to Portland, Oregon, are often surprised at the wealth of luxury real estate available just north of the city in Clark County, Washington.

The area, a stunning mix of urban, suburban, and rural enclaves and vast expanses of natural landscapes, stretches north from the Columbia River's shores to the Lewis River's North Fork and includes the communities of Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, and Ridgefield. These dynamic locales, each a richly unique destination, offer the luxury home buyer or investor a sophisticated lifestyle that spans both urban convenience and rustic chic—ideal as both a place to call home or for long-term investment potential.

Let's look closer at the Clark County luxury market and what you need to know about this incredible region.

The cities of Clark County

Vast swaths of Clark County feature meandering rivers, thick forests, and pockets of open space draped over the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Hiking, mountain biking, and general exploration following the footsteps of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition are favorite pastimes in this region of Washington State, which sits three hours south of Seattle and just a few minutes north of Portland, Oregon.

There's no denying the area's natural beauty and accompanying outdoor activities. But for many home seekers, the upscale communities east and north of the Columbia River are the real draw. For those looking for luxury, there's plenty to love in Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, and Ridgefield.


As the largest city in Clark County and the region's urban hub, Vancouver offers a balanced lifestyle that seamlessly integrates the serenity of the Pacific Northwest with urban amenities. This area is particularly appealing for luxury home buyers looking for spacious properties that allow easy access to downtown Vancouver's thriving arts, cultural, and dining scenes.

Here, you can expect to find high-end residences featuring top-of-the-line finishes, smart home technologies, and often panoramic views of the Columbia River or the surrounding foothills. Waterfront properties here are in high demand, and the luxury market often sees a premium for those homes that offer direct river access or unobstructed views.

Vancouver and its upscale neighborhoods, including the notable enclaves of Cascade Highlands, Fisher's Landing, Old Evergreen, Riverview, and the unincorporated Mill Plain, offer buyers a more bucolic, low-key urban alternative to the more cosmopolitan Portland, which is an outstanding city in its own right, but also 3.5 times larger. Vancouver ultimately provides the best of both worlds for those wanting a slightly slower but no less luxurious lifestyle.


Tucked between the easternmost neighborhoods of Vancouver and the more rural Washougal, Camas offers a more suburban lifestyle, an idyllic blend of elegance and nature. The city is most widely known for its top-tier school system that's among the 15 best districts in the state and family-friendly communities, including Dawson's Ridge, Forest Home Park, Lacamas Shores, Livingston Mountain, and Prune Hill. Camas is also centrally located for commuters, adventurers, and those wanting to be close, but not too close, to the heart of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

Consider that from the center of Camas' serene suburban setting, downtown Vancouver is 20 minutes, downtown Portland is 30 minutes, and Portland International Airport is less than both, with it just a 15-minute drive.

Moreover, Camas provides an extraordinary natural setting with many homes overlooking Lacamas Lake, the Columbia River, adjacent to one of the county's numerous forested areas. Luxury homes here are often found on expansive lots, offering ample privacy and room for custom amenities such as swimming pools or tennis courts. This provides a tranquil environment that maintains close proximity to urban conveniences.


Head east of Camas, and you'll discover Washougal's less suburban and more rural aesthetics. As with Vancouver and Camas, Washougal sits along the Columbia River. The community represents the last of Clark County's established cities before entering the undeveloped territory of Clark County and the even more sparse Skamania County just 10 minutes to the east.

By no means isolated—Portland International Airport and downtown Vancouver are 20 and 25 minutes away, respectively—Washougal does offer a more secluded, rustic lifestyle without compromising on luxury.

You can find properties here with substantial acreage, offering a veritable natural oasis where architectural brilliance meets stellar craftsmanship. Luxury homes are abundant in Washougal, including those overlooking the Washougal and Columbia Rivers, those with access to equestrian facilities, and others set on hilltop vistas featuring stunning views of the surrounding landscape.


Ridgefield is located north of Vancouver and offers modern convenience and natural splendor. As with Clark County's other major cities, Ridgefield sits adjacent to one of the region's picturesque rivers, as the Lake River forms the city's western border, with the Columbia River two miles further west.

The community has gained a reputation for the lush, pastoral Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge between the two rivers—a 5,200-acre preserve and a haven for birdwatchers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. The school district also ranks just behind Camas as the best in the county.

In terms of luxury real estate, Ridgefield provides a myriad of options. Whether you're interested in a sprawling estate with acres of woodland, modern architecture with high-end amenities, or both, the area's housing market caters to diverse tastes and preferences. Moreover, the residences here often have unique features such as private ponds, wine cellars, and outdoor entertainment spaces that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings.

Considerations for Clark County luxury real estate

Beyond the neighborhoods themselves, there are several vital details luxury home buyers and investors will want to familiarize themselves with before finalizing a deal within the Clark County luxury market.


Each community within Clark County offers something distinct and appealing to various lifestyle needs or investment goals. Understanding which areas will best serve your needs will ensure a successful short- and long-term transaction. For example, buyers seeking large homes and acreage will find plenty in Ridgeland and Washougal.

Investors will have success in urban Vancouver, where both houses and condos lend themselves to taking advantage of the strengthening rental market. Those who desire traditional neighborhoods, proximity, and excellent schools will prefer Camas above other areas.

Waterfront properties, estates with commanding views, or homes with proximity to open spaces feature across the region; keep in mind such variables also impact a property's price, with a potential premium on your chosen location.


Washington State and Clark County are extremely favorable places for those who want to avoid heavy tax burdens. The state is one of only a handful without a state income tax. But other taxes are levied, including property taxes, based on the state's 1% constitutional limit on property tax increases.

Ultimately, property taxes can vary significantly on comparable properties depending on where in Clark County they're located. Keep this in mind during your luxury home search.


Finally, it's no secret that Clark County is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts—numerous national and state parks in both Washington and Oregon are short drives from your doorstep, with the Pacific Ocean only a 90-minute drive from the heart of Vancouver. It's also an area with every modern convenience and cultural destination imaginable.

Proximity to your preferred lifestyle should be a significant consideration in your buying process. The closer you are to Clark County's expansive outdoors, the further away you are from its high-end shopping centers, fine dining establishments, art galleries, schools, and major transportation networks, including those in Portland.

Nearby amenities can significantly enhance the quality of life, offering varied leisure and entertainment options right at your doorstep and impacting the price you pay for a property.

Ready to discover more about the Clark County luxury market?

Navigating Clark County's luxury home market requires local knowledge and an intimate understanding of which properties best suit your needs. If you're ready to make Clark County your primary or secondary home, contact David Merrick today to start your home search in this incredible landscape of modern convenience and natural wonder. A licensed real estate professional in both Washington and Oregon, allow David's extensive knowledge and experience to help you navigate the Clark County luxury real estate market.

*Header photo courtesy of David Merrick

Work With David

With more than 25 years of corporate retail experience (sales, buying and district management), I strive to give every client the personal service and attention to detail that they deserve. I would love to work with you on your next real estate adventure. Contact me anytime.