Moving? Consider the Appeal of the Tri-Cities

Moving? Consider the Appeal of the Tri-Cities

Relocating is a major decision, especially if you’re uprooting a family. As a parent, you likely consider more factors than a typical home shopper, including the community’s safety, quality of schools, possible outdoor activities and access to green spaces. Then, you still need to hunt for the desired home features.

To help narrow your search, consider the three family-friendly communities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco. These neighboring cities are known as the Tri-Cities and unite at the convergence of the Columbia, Yakima and Snake rivers. The region is excellent for water sports and activities like paddle boarding, boating or floating. In addition, you can find parks along the rivers’ edge and numerous hiking and biking trails. Despite their combined population of around 200,000, the Tri-Cities feel quintessentially suburban. Plus, the communities are significantly safer than other nearby cities like Ellensburg or Yakima.

In addition to offering the family must-haves of safety and recreation, the real estate markets across the three cities are currently at peak health. Median home values have increased dramatically since July 2014, and they are predicted to climb further throughout the next year. If you’re interested in moving to the Tri-Cities and think you’ll stay for at least two years, it’s more cost effective to buy a home than rent.

The median listing prices for homes throughout the Tri-Cities range from $269,000 to $340,000, making a standard 20 percent down payment $53,000 to $68,000. Coupled with a bit of help from professional movers, you can budget a relocation to please the entire family.

(Read: 4 Reasons You Will Love Tri Cities, WA)


Richland is the northernmost of the Tri-Cities and the priciest of the three. The median home value is $296,600, with homes currently on the market listed at a median price of $340,000. Although it’s more expensive than Kennewick or Pasco, the area has strong appeal. In fact, Kiplinger named Richland the second-best city nationwide to raise a family. The community offers multiple outdoor attractions such as Howard Amon Park, Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve and Badger Mountain Park.

Additionally, Richland High School and White Bluffs Elementary School are both rated 9 out of 10 by GreatSchools. If you were to purchase a home in Richland, you could expect it to appreciate 5.6 percent throughout the next year.


Situated just south of Richland along the Columbia River is Kennewick. Even if you’re not familiar with the area, you may know it as the discovery site of one of the most complete ancient human skeletons ever found, the Kennewick Man. Homes here experienced an incredible 10.8 percent appreciation rate across the last 12 months, and they are anticipated to rise another 5.5 percent during the next year. Even with all that growth, the median home value is still approximately $35,000 lower than Richland at $261,400. If you’re thinking of buying, the median listing price for homes in Kennewick is $269,000.

Nearby attractions include the Sacagawea Heritage Trail Loop which passes through all three area cities, the Playground of Dreams, Columbia Center Mall and Toyota Center, a venue for sporting events and concerts. Additionally, three Kennewick elementary schools top the GreatSchools charts: Ridge View Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and Ruth Livingston Elementary all rated 8.


East of Kennewick and Richland and across the Columbia River is the city of Pasco. The median home value is $196,000, about $65,000 less than in Kennewick, despite high appreciation of 10.3 percent last year. However, the homes on the market in Pasco are listed at a median price of $269,000, identical to Kennewick. Homeowners in Pasco can expect an additional 5.4 percent increase in value within the next 12 months.

The top-rated schools in Pasco include two elementary options, Ruth Livingston Elementary (rated 8) and Cascade Elementary (rated 7). Beyond housing and schooling, you’ll find outdoor entertainment at Sacajawea State Park and Wade Park along the Columbia River, and on rainy days you might enjoy the Franklin County Historical Museum.

If a move is on your horizon, check out the Tri-Cities. It may be the perfect place for you and your family to call home.

About the Author

Jason Nurmi Zillow Headshot

Jason Nurmi

Jason Nurmi works at Zillow, the leading real estate and rental marketplace, where he writes about real estate and finances.

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