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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
*Header photo courtesy of David Merrick