2017 Tri-Cities real estate and labor forecast explained at Pasc - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

2017 Tri-Cities real estate and labor forecast explained at Pasco Chamber luncheon

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PASCO, WA - Robust, encouraging and growth -- all words that came up quite a bit describing the year ahead for the Tri-Cities at a Pasco Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Two well-informed speakers spoke on the topic of the 2017 Tri-Cities real estate and labor forecast.

Economically, Regional Labor Economist Ajsa Suljic expects the region to grow 1.8% this year. She said 2016 marked a more than 3% growth so she is being 'conservative' in her 2017 predictions. 

She said unemployment rates are generally low or at least stable and there is evidence of confidence in the economy and in finding jobs. Speaking of jobs, the top industries for growth are expected to be education and health care. Those jobs, service providing, actually make up 86% of all local jobs. However, others are making big impacts, too, including housing.

"Some of the leading industries still include construction, little bit of manufacturing, retail, trade, transportation, warehousing, food services and hospitality. They're all really contributing," said Suljic.

As for the real estate forecast, experts say it is still a 'seller's market.'

"For the first part of the year, unless the builders can keep up, we're going to still experience that severe shortage. The housing market will continue to be strong in particularly high demand areas," said owner/broker of several John L. Scott real estate offices, Dennis Gisi. 

The median price for a house ended up being about $222,000 at the end of 2016 and the average time-to-market is just 45 to 50 days.

Also, Gisi said the occupancy rate is up to 98% still throughout the Tri-Cities region and that is making rest prices rise, as well.