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Lacey WA Real Estate Presented by Phil Sharp, 1SG, Ret

Real estate is a hot topic in Lacey Washington right now. The city is literally “bursting at the seams” with rapid development pushing the boundaries of the anticipated urban growth areas.  Thurston County is the most popular destination for Military home owners, and is also becoming “close” for people commuting to cities north. The Lacey housing market reflects this expansion, and the upside potential is very good if you are a home-owner.

The population and economy in Lacey, as with the rest of Western WA, is one

of the fastest growing in the country. Many things have come together to

create this condition….Good, solid and long term things. The Military of course

has had a huge impact, but is not number one.

  1. The State Government, with the Capital in Olympia, and office sprawl in Lacey and Tumwater.  

  2. The Lacey Industrial Park.  Providing shipping and distribution via the port of Tacoma, for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and others.  

  3. The Military, with JBLM being the home to about 45k active duty, plus dependents.

lacey washington.jpg

As you learn more about the JBLM area, you will see that Lacey sits astride I-5 just south of post. The commute is 20-30 min to just about anywhere on post, and there are alternative (Back) roads if I-5 is jammed. When I PCS’d to JBLM, I chose Lacey at the urging of friends.  We had teenagers at the time, and Tacoma was not an option. Our Kids and Grandkids still live in Lacey.

If you look at your home as an investment, you couldn’t pick a better place to be…right in the path of growth.   Areas to the north of post are much more “mature”, densely developed, and are typical big city/suburbs. The traffic you hear about is considerably worse north and west of post, as is crime.


The primary region of growth, and the place with the most upside potential in real estate, is south and east of post. Lacey, and the Olympia area in general, are the fastest growing communities in the State, and Lacey is a really nice place to live. I mentioned earlier that Thurston County is the location more and more for military folks moving here, Lacey is the most popular city, followed by Yelm, and the rural areas east and south of post.


Lacey is a satellite city of Olympia and has grown at a fantastic rate over the last 10-15 years.  Lacey was incorporated in 1966, and it’s population as of 2019 is 52,592.  The Lacey community is much the same as Olympia; with residents commuting as far as Portland and Seattle, as well as the Military Bases. 

A large percentage of Lacey residents are Military; active duty, reserve and Guardsman working at Camp Murray, and retirees such as myself.  Lacey is located in the northern part of Thurston County, and is the shortest commute for those coming south from Fort Lewis and McChord AFB.

Lacey is a combination of urban and rural area’s, and it’s boundaries are often confusing, many Lacey locations are actually Olympia mailing addresses, and there are Lacey mailing addresses in areas that are generally considered to be in the County or Olympia.

The Economy in Lacey is booming.  Many development projects are currently underway, with the addition of the new business park and housing developments both in the Hawks Prairie vicinity (The I-5 corridor as you enter Thurston County from the north) as well as new housing and business development south of Lacey in an area previously considered to be East Olympia (Horizon Pointe, Yelm Highway area).

Homes for sale in Lacey, WA

Homes for sale in Lacey wa

Lacey Washington Real Estate and Housing FAQ:

Q: How far is the drive from JBLM to downtown Lacey?

  • A: Downtown would be exit 108, about 20 minutes from the main gate. Hawks Prairie, exit 109 or 111, is faster, because there is less traffic prior to hitting Lacey.

Q: Is the drive to Olympia further than the drive to Lacey?

  • A: Downtown Olympia is a few minutes further, the boundary’s between Olympia and Lacey are really blurry, with some parts of Olympia showing up on the north side of Lacey in Hawks Prairie.

Q: Is there a back way to Lacey and Olympia other than taking the (I-5)?

  • A: You can cut thru Dupont, and then jump from exit to exit from DuPont to Mounts Road…and then thru Nisqually. I have taken this route if I-5 is jammed. This is really the only option, because there are only two bridges across the Nisqually River.


Q: What is the population of Lacey?

  • A: According to, the population estimate of Lacey in 2019 was 52,592.

Q: What are the main employment opportunities in the Lacey and Thurston County area?

  • A: The largest single employer in the Lacey/Olympia area is the Military/JBLM, followed by the state government. There are also numerous large corporations relocating distribution centers to Lacey (Target, Home Depot, and several others have huge facilities here). Lacey is a rapidly growing community, with lots of opportunity, and lots to do.

Q: What about shopping in Lacey? Is there a Mall?

  • A: There is the South Sound Center in “downtown” Lacey, hosting lots of businesses, and several very large stores (Target, Kohls, etc.). In the Hawks Prairie area (north Lacey, closer to JBLM) there is a whole area with shopping, Costco and more. There is also the Capital Mall, about 10 minutes away on the west side of Olympia, that is even larger.

Q: Are there any good biking or walking trails in the Lacey Wa area?

  • A: We have a thing in the west called “Rails to Trails”. There are many old rail lines that have been converted to trails. Most are paved, and the Chehalis Trail is over 30 miles long, and ends up at an old abandoned timber mill on the banks of Puget Sound.

Q: Is there access to salt water, could I find a home that is on salt water?

  • A: There is Salt Water access in the Lacey area. Water Frontage, and especially salt water frontage, is very expensive. Also, much of the water front was built a long time ago, so if you find a really good deal on an older water front home, it is probably because it has been neglected…Permits for repairs, when next to the water, also get expensive, and complicated.

Q: My wife wants to finish her Bachelors when we get back to the states, are there any graduate schools in Lacey Wa or the surrounding cities?

  • A: St Martins University in Lacey is a nationally recognized university. There is also the Evergreen State College in Olympia, a popular school of the sciences, environment, ecology and archeology.

Q: What kinds of recreational activities are available in Lacey?

  • A There are numerous biking and walking trails, water front parks and even scuba diving on a couple of wrecks off of Tolmie State Park. The lake behind the Lacey Community center is stocked with Trout, and there are fishing contests for kids (and parents) on a fairly regular basis. Some consider Cabela's to be a recreational event, and there is the Hands On Children's Museum in Olympia, right down the hill next to the port and marina. Follow my JBLM Relocation Sponsor on Facebook and Instagram for more things to do in the JBLM area. 

Have you been considering buying a home in Lacey Wa, and trying to decide when the time is right to start looking for a home?   It looks like the time is right…Now. The Lacey Wa Real Estate Market has been and still is presenting great opportunities for home buyers, and more recently, home sellers are seeing better times too.   


- Phil


Lacey Washington Real Estate Information and Homes for Sale

Phil Sharp Homes offers professional real estate representation to buyers in the Lacey WA area, and to those wishing to purchase a first home or trade up to something newer and better.  My staff of two assistants, and I, believe that we offer the best plan around (we tailor our plan to each customer) for those looking to buy a home, or find homes for sale in Lacey and the surrounding communities.  

Did you know that when purchasing a home, buyer representation with me is FREE?!?  Through our relationship with the MLS, we are able to show and sell every real estate listing in Pierce and Thurston counties, and in fact in all of Washington.  Our contract with the Multiple Listing Service ensures that while we represent the interests of the buyer, the seller pays the bills.

I make my services available to anyone interested in the Lacey area Real Estate market. Whether you are just seeking information, or are needing to make a move right away, I am willing to offer my advice, and my services, on your schedule and when you are ready.   

I expect that while you are in the initial stages of looking, you may not want to form a relationship with a real estate agent...which is understandable. I make all of my resources available with no strings attached, and when the time is right and you are ready to start working with an agent I hope that you will make the decision to work with me.

Don't forget to visit our Relocation Department and Meet Heather Rowell, YOUR JBLM Relocation Sponsor. She can answer any additional questions you may have about Lacey, WA or anything else that you need to know and help make your move easier. Contact us to get a Relocation Packet filled with area information surrounding JBLM Military Base.


Phil Sharp 1SG, Retired & Owner/Broker of Phil Sharp Homes  

Are You Searching For Foreclosures And Bank Owned Real Estate In Lacey Washington?

Have you been searching for foreclosure homes for sale listings in Lacey WA and surrounding communities?   I offer two types of foreclosure searches (not counting the computer generated email alerts), the first is a manually generated database created in our office and updated daily. The other is an automated tool that pulls foreclosure listings and short sales from the NWMLS database, and it is updated as foreclosure listings are added or their status changes in the MLS. Both of these options are far superior to the data aggregator services that pull info from county and tax records…and then never remove the information.  

I offer the best search tools available to find foreclosure listings and foreclosed homes for sale in the Lacey Washington area. If you would like us do daily searches for foreclosure listings and bank owned properties, please fill out one of our online forms. We are already doing the work, you may as well get the benefit of our first hand knowledge of every foreclosed and bank owned home in Lacey WA and the surrounding area. 

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