2020 City of Lakewood Annual Housing Report Released

Lakewood’s average rents are the second lowest in all of Pierce County

March 11, 2021 – Lakewood, WA

On March 8, the Lakewood City Council received the City’s 2020 Annual Housing Report.  While there is not a requirement to prepare this report, it provides aggregated information about economic conditions, vacancy rates, and housing rent and sale prices and outlines what to expect in 2021.  

In summary:

  • COVID-19, including a stay-at-home orders and ongoing social distancing mandates, caused economic activity in the Tacoma-Lakewood metropolitan area to slow dramatically in 2020. 
  • Lakewood’s average rental rate was $1,285 in 2020, making Lakewood the most affordable community in all of Pierce County other than Spanaway.   Lakewood’s average rent is 16% below the overall average rent in all of Pierce County, which is $1,500.  Seattle’s rent was $1,933, Puyallup’s was $1,584 and Tacoma’s was $1,407.
  • A prolonged regional shortage of inventory contributed to increased net-migration and demand from King County residents looking for more affordable housing that resulted in strong home sales and is partly attributable to the disparity in housing costs in Pierce County.
  • Apartment market conditions in the Tacoma-Lakewood metropolitan area are currently tight, with a 2.9-percent vacancy rate during the third quarter of 2020.  Vacancy rates remained under 4.0 percent and rent growth averaged almost 6 percent, annually, through 2019. 
  • Because of rising land values, single-family residential rental property owners are selling their properties.   Thus, fewer single family rentals are available and there is an increase in Lakewood’s homeownership rate.
  • New home construction in the Tacoma-Lakewood metropolitan area has been relatively flat since the housing market recovered in 2013, averaging 2,525 new homes a year.  Lakewood’s permitting activity and lot creation continued in 2020 at average levels.
  • Lakewood has received reports that financial institutions are currently less likely to provide apartment development financing, at least in the interim.  This condition is expected to change as the pandemic lessens.
  • There is a rising delinquency rates in mortgages due to the economic recession stemming from COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The report also includes an outline of some of the programs the City of Lakewood has in place to maintain and promote affordable housing to include a major home repair program, partnership with Habitat for Humanity to build new low income housing, rental housing safety program, rental assistance, inclusionary zoning, incentive zoning, streamlined development code, and promoting regional solutions. 

The full Lakewood 2020 Housing Report is available at https://cityoflakewood.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-03-08-Council-Agenda.pdf


For more information, please contact Tiffany Speir, Lakewood Long Range & Strategic Planning Manager, at 253.983.7702 / [email protected]