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Yelm, WA Real Estate and Homes for Sale Presented by Phil Sharp, 1SG Ret. - JBLM Real Estate

Yelm Washington was recognized several years ago as the fastest growing small town in the State, with location, location, and location being the reason.  Yelm is separated from I-5 by JBLM, but can be accessed from post within 20-30 minutes.  It is also a pleasant commute (compared to the freeway) from either Yelm or Spanaway, and areas to the north.  

Location means that living in Yelm, the commute to cities north and south is about the same, and driving  I-5 can be avoided.   The popularity isn’t just military.  Locals commuting from up north like living in communities with rural and military populations.  Crime is almost non-existent, the schools are good, and people are friendly.  

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Location for people living in Yelm means about 20 minutes to downtown Olympia, 30 to downtown Tacoma (security), and an hour to downtown Seattle.  If you are not into the cities, Yelm is the home to a 6-plex cinema, an old fashioned theater with a stage, Safeway, Walmart, and others…so you don’t need to travel if you don’t want to.

And lastly, location for people living in Yelm means living in what is essentially a small farm town that is growing.  The locals are mostly involved in the agriculture business,  retired military, Boeing and State Govt employees….etc.  The community is very welcoming to military folks, people smile and say hello.  They do party on main street sometimes….

If you would like more information on the JBLM and Yelm Wa areas, you can request a relocation packet, or email us with questions at  If you are ready to start looking, we have a real person who does that too….


 - Phil Sharp 1SG, Retired

Homes for Sale in Yelm, WA
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Yelm Washington Relocation and New Home Buyer FAQ:

Q: Why has Yelm just become so popular in recent years?

  • A: Yelm has always been separated from I-5 by Ft Lewis and the Nisqually River. In recent years, because of growth and expansion, Yelm has come onto the radar. People have figured out that while Yelm is a little off the beaten path…that is not a bad thing. There are two options to get to Yelm from Post, either south of post thru the Nisqually Valley via Reservation road, or via the Roy Gate. Both take about 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

Q: Is Yelm really a farm town?

  • A: Yelm’s economy is agriculture, and the military.

Q: I have heard that Yelm is the fastest growing town in the State of Washington, is that true and what does that mean if I want to buy a house?

  • A: A couple of years ago it was announced that Yelm was the fastest growing town in the state, and I believe it.   I believe (and I think that history supports this) that buying in a growing market is a good thing.   Population is growing, jobs are being created, and space is becoming more limited, prices are going up.

Q: Do you sell many houses in Yelm?

  • A: Yelm is in the top three of most popular communities that I work in. Lacey, Spanaway/Graham, and Yelm compete with each other, one month it is Lacey, next month Yelm etc. I do sell lots of homes in Yelm.

Q: How far is it to JBLM?

  • A: It is about a 20 minute drive, depending on traffic and time of day. Lots of people take the Roy gate to PT, and come thru Nisqually to get home. It also depends on what part of town you live in…or if you live outside of Yelm in the country.

Q: I have heard about the Mounts Road gate, the Roy gate, and the east Gate, but I can’t find any of them on a map. Do you have an accurate map, and what is the best gate to use for Yelm?

  • A: Best gate depends on the time of day, and what part of Yelm you live in. Check out the JBLM gate MAP here.

Q: Why are prices cheaper in Yelm? Is there a problem?

  • A: As mentioned earlier, Yelm is an up and coming small town. Prices are slightly behind Lacey and Spanaway…but that is rapidly changing. Just the opposite of a problem, as a homeowner, you want to be ahead of growth.

Q: It looks like most of the homes for sale in Yelm are new come no older homes?

  • A: There are older homes available in Yelm…just not that many. Yelm was a town of just about a thousand people until not to long ago. There are lots of older farmhouses in the surrounding country side…but be careful of what you get into. Some people have visions of the old farmhouse renovation project…I have seen lots of money pits!

Q: Is there Shopping and stuff to do in Yelm?

  • A: Yelm has made the bigtime, Walmart came to town in 2010! There is a fair amount of other shopping in Yelm, and still a lot of smaller, family owned businesses. Hopefully they will be able to survive and grow. The City of Olympia is doing really well at reviving small businesses, hopefully Yelm can follow the pattern.

Q: How far is it to get to Tacoma or Seattle from Yelm?

  • A: Tacoma is anywhere from 20 min…up to 45+ to the north end. Seattle is a solid hour, and Seatac Airport is 45 minutes if traffic isn’t bad. Best route is probably to cross post, or hit I-5 via Nisqually.

Q: Is it still possible to buy farmland or a small farmstead in the Yelm area?

  • A: Absolutely, I would guess that 1/3 of the homes that I sell in the Yelm and Roy areas are small farms and acreages. A home on 5-10 acres in well within the reach of a mid-career NCO or Company Grade officer.

Q: Is Clearwood really that far…it doesn’t look that bad on a map?

  • A: Clearwood is really that far. I take lots of folks out there…because home prices are so low…but they take it off the list because of the drive. Clearwood is a beautiful lake community. Great facilities, no crime, but a bummer if you commute.

Q: Can I keep animals, such as horses or chickens, in Yelm?

  • A: Yes, you can keep chickens about anywhere. For horses, you will have to be outside of the city limits…or in a home that is “grandfathered” for keeping livestock.

Q: Are there employment opportunities in Yelm, or will my spouse need to commute to find a job?

  • A: There are employment opportunities in the Yelm community. I will say that most are probably retail or service industry...or agriculture. A large percentage commute 15 minutes to Lacey/Olympia, or to the north.

What's Happening in Yelm?
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Yelm is the fastest growing area in Thurston County.  The Motto of Yelm is “Pride of the Prairie” which is derived from the large local prairie and grass lands.  Yelm’s growth in recent years has been fueled by low prices compared to surrounding areas, the easy commute thru Spanaway to I-5, and it’s proximity to the Military bases.

Homes in the Yelm (and Rainier) areas are generally priced several percentage points below those around Olympia, and significantly below homes Pierce County.  Yelm has a small town feel, reminiscent of my home town in the Midwest.  Cruising Main Street is still a local past time, and long term residents of the area are almost all involved in agriculture in some way.

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.   

The opportunities for home ownership in Yelm are diverse.  There are brand new (and older) homes available in town at very reasonable prices; if acreage is what you prefer, a new home on five acres can be had starting in the mid $300’s. Real Estate and Homes for Sale in the Yelm Area is frequently searched by local military families. It is a rural setting, close to base, shopping and cities.

For rural charm, good schools and reasonable prices, Yelm is worth putting on your “look” list.  A 15 minute drive will take you to the bases, Olympia, or the south Tacoma area, if you have a little bit more time you could even do it on horseback.

Yelm Washington Real Estate and Homes for Sale

Welcome to Phil Sharp Homes, providing Real Estate Services in Yelm, as well as all of Thurston and Pierce counties in Washington. My name is Phil Sharp; I have been a realtor in the Yelm Wa area since my retirement from The Army and Fort Lewis in 2004. 

Yelm is currently the fastest growing small town in Washington, and has enjoyed a surge in growth over the past 5-6 years. Much of this growth is due to the large military presence in the area, as well the fact that it has been “discovered’ by folks working to the north in Tacoma and Seattle who are looking for small town character, an easy commute, and lower real estate prices.  

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My business, while primarily catering to military families, serves the real estate needs of all current residents of Yelm as well as those relocating to the area. Our relocation services are top notch, Your Relocation Sponsor, Heather Rowell, is available to help with coordinating your move, researching schools and communities, and insuring that you locate in a community that fits your unique needs. Find out more about how Heather can help you with your move on our Relocation Page. If your home search leads you to Yelm, Roy, or any of the other outlying areas surrounding Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), please contact myself or Heather, my relocation sponsor. I guarantee that you will have your best house hunting experience ever.  

Search for Real Estate and Homes for Sale in Yelm

As a Real Estate Agent in the Yelm Area, I have placed my business primarily online.  I realize that nowadays people do most of their searching online, and hire an agent only later in the process.  I am happy to have you use this site, and my advice, during the course of your search.  Your decision to use the features I provide here does not commit you to using my services; on the contrary, I am interested in making your move within or to the community a smooth one.  I am more than willing to offer my advice for free; in the hopes that I will gain your trust, and possibly your business, either now or in the future.

Are You Selling Your Home? Want Exposure to the Military Bases, Our Largest Source of Buyers?   If you are considering selling your home in the Yelm or Roy area, you should consider listing your home with Phil Sharp Homes. We offer what is arguably the #1 source for exposure to military buyers.   Whether you are buying or selling a home, hire a real estate agent like me, who wants to earn your business. I invite you to contact me, I'd be happy to answer your questions and assist you in any way I can.   Again, thank you for visiting Yelm Real Estate and Homes for Sale.

  • Yelm Washington Real Estate Representation in the following communities:

  • Yelm Washington Real Estate for sale, homes for sale in Yelm, Rainier, Clearwood and other outlying areas.

  • Rainier Washington Real Estate for sale and homes for sale

  • Clearwood (Yelm) Washington Real Estate for sale

  • North Yelm Washington Real estate for sale

  • Vacant Land, New Construction and Existing Homes, Owner Builders, Farm and Ranch.

Yelm WA: Growth, Housing, and Real Estate Market Report 


Yelm has been recognized as the fastest growing community in the State of Washington in terms of population, development and commercial business relocation. Just a few years ago, Yelm was a small farming community, with 10-15% of its residents being military personnel assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Over the course of the past 5-7 years, Yelm has gotten on the map as a very convenient location for Lewis-McChord personnel, and for folks who want to get out of the city, but still need to commute to either the north (Spanaway, Tacoma etc.) or to the south (Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater).


Real estate in Yelm is still priced a couple of percentage points below the communities to the north and south. The reason for this is the fact that while Yelm has gotten on the map…it is still gaining in popularity. I would expect property values in Yelm to be on par with the rest of Thurston County in the next couple of years.   For Military Personnel, the commute to Yelm is perfect. The little known Roy gate, which exits post in the town of Roy, does not show up on any maps. If you are a resident of Yelm, and work on Post, the commute via the Roy gate makes travel to any point on Ft. Lewis or McChord AFB no more that about 30 minutes (20 minutes to the airfield)…without having to deal with the freeway. There is an alternate route thru Nisqually, about the same amount of time, but it requires getting on interstate 5, and then looping around the south side of Ft. Lewis.  

As mentioned earlier, commercial and infrastructure growth in Yelm has also had a big impact on residential development. Wal-Mart came to Yelm in 2008 and at about the same time a new movie cinema complex was built; there are local shops, and the city just finished construction of several new schools.   The school system in Yelm is in my opinion one of the best in the state, Yelm Community Schools. I am not going to get into test scores…the teachers are what make a difference. Most of the teachers in Yelm are locals, they come from the local community and the surrounding farms….and have a stake in the community, and an interest in providing education for their own children, and in making their community better. There are links in the Buyers Tool Box to all of the school systems in the area….make sure you check out Yelm if school age children are a consideration.  

If you are interested in learning more about the Yelm real estate market and homes for sale in Yelm, please use the MLS search tool available thru this website, or request a Market Snapshot. The Market Snapshot provides real time market data, prices, sold real estate information, and time on market.   Now is a great time to buy a home in Yelm. The opportunity to own a home in a small rural community, take advantage of phenomenal growth that Yelm is experiencing, and spend a little less money for your home are all great reasons to make your home investment in Yelm.

Need to Sell Your Home in Yelm Washington? 


If you are considering listing and selling your home in Yelm Washington, let Phil market your home on this website and to the Soldiers and Airmen of JBLM.  The housing and real estate needs of the military bases is growing at an incredible rate, exposing your home to the military real estate market only makes sense.

To Request a home sellers guide and to have me prepare a market analysis of the sale-ability of your home, give me a call or email me.  I will get back to you right away with an honest opinion of what it will take to sell your home....and I won't hold any punches if it can't be sold for the price you need.

List your Yelm home for sale today and receive professional real estate representation with a plan.  If you need to sell your home, or if you are just interested in learning the value of your home, you have come to the right place for real estate education, comprehensive real estate listing plans, and real estate market exposure that is second to none. 

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