Tacoma CondosTacoma neighborhood guideTacoma Real Estate February 6, 2022

Answering Questions about Buying Tacoma Real Estate

Thinking of moving to Tacoma in 2022? You’re not alone. As a Tacoma real estate agent specializing in relocation and buyers- I’ve spoken with hundreds of people relocating to Tacoma from across Pierce County, from Seattle, and across the country. Here are some of the most common questions they ask in our conversations:

Is Tacoma real estate affordable?

Yes and no. Aside from the incredible natural beauty, people move to Tacoma and Pierce County from out the area because of how affordable Tacoma is compared to many other west coast cities. Demand for housing in our areakeeps increasing and we are simply not keeping up with the demand. Affordable in Tacoma and Pierce County in 2022 means anything under $450,000. To find out why Tacoma is no longer as affordable as it used to be, check out the blog post, “Tacoma isn’t affordable anymore. Here’s why.”

How much does it cost to buy a house in Tacoma in 2022?

The median home price in Pierce County is $515,000. The average home price is $566,584. Back in 2020 home prices in Pierce County increased 15%. Then in 2021 Pierce County home prices increased again by over 17%. Pierce County is a seller’s market with very little inventory. As of January 2022 homes under $650,000 are still extremely sought after. While homes over $650,000 are still in a seller’s market, the sales pace is less frenzied than the more affordable homes.

What are the best neighborhoods in Tacoma?

After 17 years selling real estate in Tacoma, I’ve found different people define “best” in a wide variety of ways. Here’s a breakdown of the top neighborhoods in Tacoma and Pierce County using a variety of criteria:

The Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Tacoma & Pierce County

Good Neighborhoods in Pierce County

The Best Neighborhoods for Commuting to JBLM

Best Neighborhoods with Water Views near Tacoma

The Best Neighborhoods for Commuting to Seattle from Tacoma

How do I find out more information about schools in and around Tacoma?

Much like “good neighborhoods” criteria for “good schools” can vary widely in Tacoma. Check out this blog post, “How do you Find the Best School in Tacoma” including interviews with folks at Tacoma Public Schools, the Superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools, a University Place School Board Member, and more. Here are all of the public school districts in Pierce County:

Tacoma Public Schools

Bethel School District

Carbonado School District

Clover Park School District

Dieringer School District

Eatonville School District

Fife School District

Franklin Pierce School District

Orting School District

Peninsula School District

Puyallup School District

Steilacoom Historical School District

Sumner Bonney Lake School District

University Place School District

White River School District

Where are the best places near Tacoma to buy a home on land?

As folks are working remote more and less concerned about commute, finding a home further out on land is becoming more and more appealing. Pierce County still has lots of neighborhoods with homes on an acre of land or more including Spanaway, Graham, Elbe/Ashford, Midland, Eatonville, Edgewood, and the Key Peninsula for example. The Elbe/Ashford area is one of the most affordable (and remote!) places to buy a home on land in Pierce County with a median home price under $400,000. To learn more visit, “Best Cities to Buy a House with Land in Pierce County.”

How do I find out more about Tacoma culture?

For learning about Tacoma culture, I definitely recommend diving into Tacoma’s thriving podcast community. Channel253 Podcast Network is a locally owned network of podcasts covering news, politics, culture, race, eduaction, and more. This includes my podcast, the Move to Tacoma Podcast which includes interviews with lifelong and relocated Tacomans spanning the last seven years,

I live in Tacoma and I’m worried I’m priced out of buying. What can I do?

Tacoma used to be a friendly place for first time buyers to buy. Nowadays it’s much harder. But it’s not impossible. In most cases, you do NOT need to put 20% down to get into a home. Across the country the national downpayment average is 5%, and many first time buyers in Tacoma still buy homes with minimal downpayments. There are FHA home loans where you can put down just 3.5%. In order to know what types of loans or assistance programs you might quality for, you HAVE to talk to a lender about all. Find someone you like and trust and work with them to make a plan. Looking for a recommendation for a real estate agent and lender to help you buy your first place in Tacoma? Contact me.

How can I buy a condo in Tacoma?

Buying a condo in Tacoma is different than buying condos in other cities in the US. We have a smaller selection to choose from and many of them are conversions from apartments. You definitely want to make sure you’re working with an expert who has sold condos in many of the Tacoma buildings and has experience with their quirks.

Resources for people interested in buying a condo in Tacoma:

Buying a condo in Tacoma, WA

The Difference between a condo and a townhouse in Tacoma

How to Choose a Condo in Tacoma 

Video Tours of some Tacoma Condo Buildings

What is the commute like from Tacoma to Seattle (and elsewhere?)

Here are the most common commute times from Downtown Tacoma by car:

Downtown Seattle – 1 to 1.5 hours in rush hour

Olympia – 30 to 45 minutes in rush hour

Bellevue – 50 minutes to 1.5 hours in rush hour

JBLM – 15 to 30 minutes in rush hour

There are buses and trains connecting Tacoma with Seattle. Pierce Transit has bus service in Pierce County- continuing to the suburbs like Puyallup, South Hill, Gig Harbor, Milton, Edgewood, and Northeast Tacoma. More rural areas like Graham, Kapowsin, Bonney Lake, and Key Peninsula are less accessible by public transportation.


Pierce Transit runs all of the buses in most of Pierce County. To see a system map click here. There are ST Express buses that take people from Tacoma to Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett operated by Sound Transit.

Light Rail:

Sound Transit operates the Link Light rail that connects Downtown Tacoma to the Tacoma Dome Station. You can see a service map and schedule on the Sound Transit website here.


Sounder Trains run from Lakewood to Everett stopping in South Tacoma, Tacoma Dome, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Seattle, Edmonds, Mukilteo, and finally Everett.

Amtrak Cascades Trains take passengers from Tacoma Dome Station all the way to Vancouver Canada (to the north) and through Portland Oregon and on to California (to the South).

How do I choose a real estate agent?

The biggest piece of advice I have is to work with a local expert that you trust. These days buying a home (especially if you’re buying for less than $650,000) is extremely competitive in Tacoma. You want an agent that you connect with, that has proven experience representing buyers in your price range, and has the time to work with you and give you the service you deserve. I ‘ve written some blog posts about my ideas for choosing an agent including, “An Insider’s Guide to Choosing a Real Estate Agent.” If you’re looking for a recommendation for a real estate agent feel free to contact me.

If you have a friend who is a real estate agent who is NOT a Tacoma specialist and you’re not sure how to talk with them, check out my post “When Your Friend is a Real Estate Agent and You Want to Use Someone Else” on LinkedIn.

Additional Resources for people moving to Tacoma:

A list of Neighborhoods in North Tacoma

Complete List of Cities and Neighborhoods in Pierce County

Neighborhoods in Gig Harbor, WA

The Most Popular Neighborhoods in Tacoma in 2021

Here are some additional resources for checking out how to move to Tacoma:

I also have this clickable neighborhood map and neighborhood guide that includes median home price by neighborhood if you’d like to explore Tacoma and Pierce County!
Here is a link to the MoveToTacoma.com Podcast if you’d like to learn more about Tacoma culture!

tacoma real estate agent marguerite martin sitting down


Marguerite Martin is a different kind of Tacoma real estate agent. Check out the Tacoma Neighborhood Guide to find answers to questions you have about neighborhoods in Tacoma and Pierce County. When the time is right to start looking, Marguerite can connect you with a local real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhoods you love most. Click here to contact Marguerite.