Housing Resource
Category: JBLM Area FAQ

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

A: Downtown would be exit 114, about 15 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 freeway (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. You can also take the Mounts Road gate and go through Nisqually but it is only open limited hours.

Q: What is the population of Lacey?

A: During the 2016 Census, the population was determined to be approx. 47, 600.

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 (Sears, Kohls, Target, etc), 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 engineering school (I believe that they also have some less demanding curriculum). There is also the Evergreen State College in Olympia, a popular school of the sciences, environment, ecology and archaeology. University of Washington also has a satellite campus in Tacoma.

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 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 Cabelas 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.


SOLD: Click here to search other JBLM area homes for sale

Built in 2013, this beautifully kept 2383 sq ft home is located on a cul de sac with private playground. This home offers 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a den/office with French doors on main floor. The kitchen features multi height cabinets, detailed crown molding, granite counters, tile backsplash, stainless appliances and oversized walk in pantry. Master is large with room for a sitting area and includes an attached 5 piece master bath with granite counters, under mount sinks and walk in closet. Secondary bedrooms are nicely sized with one featuring a walk in closet. Laundry room is located upstairs and has custom cabinetry for storage. Fully fenced backyard is private with no homes looking directly down. 1 year home warranty provided.

For more information contact
Phil Sharp | 360.970.9977
phil@philsharphomes.com | www.PhilSharpHomes.com

Click here to search other JBLM area homes for sale



Another Mission Accomplished and another happy homeowner! Looking for a home in the JBLM area? Let me help you find the perfect one!


Summary of The JBLM Area Real Estate Market Fall 2016 JBLM-real-estate-market

2016 has so far been an exceptional year for real estate in Western Washington. From both perspectives, buyer and seller, it has been a good year. Buyers are still enjoying exceptional prices, and low interest rates. Sellers are enjoying a brisk market, low inventory, and in some cases multiple offers.

The current housing inventory in Thurston County south of JBLM is approximately 1 month. A balanced market is considered to have 4-6 months of inventory. Based on supply and demand, you can see that we are in a sellers market. The result of the low inventory and strong demand this year has been an increase in prices.

The inventory situation, coupled with the improving economy, has been good for home prices. We have seen values going up by 1.5% per month in some parts of the market. Generally, the lower priced homes have appreciated the most. Across Thurston County, overall real estate values have increased 11% in the past year.
As fall approaches, the real estate market tends to slow to a stop (around Christmas) and then take off with a bang in January.

As of late September, the market slowed some before kids went back to school, then picked up again. Based on the number of folks I am communicating with, it looks like it will be a busy fall and winter.
As I mentioned above, the market is in need of listings (and so am I). If you are considering selling your home, I can promise you more exposure, both local and global, than any other brokerage. Most agents put your home on the MLS and put up a sign…that’s what we do before we start.


Are you considering putting your home on the market but think that you may haveThurston County Housing Marketmissed the season? Think again! According to the newest press release provided by the NWMLS, the market is still looking good! In the article there are statements such as “The market remains just as intense as July” and “We expect a repeat of conditions from last winter when every available home that came on the market in areas with a shortage of inventory received quick action (NWMLS 2016).” This winter might just be the best time to get your home sold quickly. Give me a call or email me and we can discuss your best options.

Market Activity Summary – August 2016

Thurston County Housing Market                                               
New Listings: 617
Total Active Listings: 1,121
Pending Sales: 651
Closings: 494
Average Price: $287,800
Median Price: $269,000

Pierce County Housing Market
New Listings: 1,975
Total Active Listings: 2,987
Pending Sales: 2,040
Closings: 1,576
Average Price: $310,029
Median Price: $283,225



N. (2016, September 07). Housing market still active, direction “positive” Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://www.nwmls.com/index.cfm?/Home/Current-News/page/Latest-News-Release




              Highly likely to recommend: ★★★★★

              Local knowledge: ★★★★

              Process expertise: ★★★★★

              Responsiveness: ★★★★★

              Negotiation skills: ★★★★★



I found Phil while browsing agents on Zillow and read his many reviews. I was PCSing in a couple of months and need help finding a new home. Phil and his team were excellent and lived up to all the great reviews he has. His team did a great job finding a LARGE list of properties for us to review and gave us a great selection of houses and locations to choose from. Once we had decided on a few to see Phil set everything up and gave us excellent advice as we were asking through each of the houses. I am extremely glad to have found Phil and his team. I highly recommend Phil for any one, but he is especially good for Service Members as he understands our unique challenges.

Matt and Ashley Blakemore

This and other reviews can be seen at: http://u.zillow.com/w5SSR/


Highly likely to recommend: ★★★★★

Local knowledge: ★★★★

Process expertise: ★★★★★

Responsiveness: ★★★★★

Negotiation skills: ★★★★★

I was a first time home buyer and when looking for a realtor I sent approx 75 agents an e-mail, then slowly started the process of elimination. Phil was absolutely amazing, I would call him from Germany and talk to him on the phone for an hour or more at times while he broke down the home buying   process easy enough a 5-year-old could understand.

The process of purchasing a home with Phil was comforting knowing he was also looking in my best interest not just in $$$. There was several houses I was more interested in for more money but Phil and his wife helped us pick the perfect home for my family.

He is truly a professional, I never got the “salesmen” vibe from him he was honest with me from day one. It is always the little things that you remember, before I committed to purchasing a house, while I was still in the process of finding a realtor, I was e-mailing back and forth with him and a week or so later in Afghanistan I received a care package with a lot of home buying tips and information on the area. Phil is a 5-star Real Estate PROFESSIONAL!

This and other reviews can be seen at: http://u.zillow.com/w5SSR/



Recently the newest middle school in the North Thurston Public School District opened its doors to the public for an open house. The school is about 99% complete and will be ready for all the students in September 2016. Salish Middle School, located at 8605 Campus Glen Dr NE, is built on 19 acres and has the following features according to the NTPS:

  • Athletic Track
  • Soccer Field
  • Softball Field
  • Outdoor Learning Opportunities
  • Future Greenhouse & Garden Courtyard
  • Ease of Circulation Flows (Bus, Car, Student)
  • Infrastructure for future portables
  • 750 students, grades 6 – 8
  • 2 – Story Building Design
  • 108,248 Sq. Ft. New Construction
  • House Model
  • Main & Auxiliary Gymnasiums
  • Visibility, Safety & Security
  • Infrastructure for anticipated program and technical needs

According to The Olympian (the local newspaper), students from Meadows, Olympic View and Lacey elementary schools generally will attend Salish. Check out the video of Salish MS.

Salish Middle School is located in the Hawks Prairie area of Lacey where lots of new homes are being built. The Hawks Prairie area is in north Lacey and has a pretty easy commute to Joint Base Lewis-McChord because of its proximity to I-5. Take a look at the current Hawks Prairie area homes for sale.

Are you relocating to the JBLM area? We would be happy to set up a personalized home search for you. An actual person will search listings for you on a regular basis and only send homes that are actively on the market, meet your criteria and will qualify for your specified financing. Set up your JBLM area home search today!

Subscribe to The Compass, a JBLM area newsletter


I get a lot of questions about the schools around JBLM and which ones are best to attend. Most people rank schoolsschool as one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a home in the Ft. Lewis area. Below are the links to the different school districts around the JBLM area. I also recommend checking on greatschools.org and k12.niche.com for ratings and reviews.


School Districts Off Base include:

North Thurston Public Schools (located in Lacey)

Olympia School District

Tumwater School District

Yelm Community Schools

University Place School District

Puyallup School District

Peninsula School District #401 (located in Gig Harbor)

Bethel School District (serves Spanaway and Graham)

Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1 (serves Dupont & Steilacoom)

Clover Park School District (located in Lakewood)

Tacoma Public Schools

Want a customized home search set up for you? We will manually search for homes that meet all of your criteria, including confirming what school the home is assigned to. It’s easy to set up…just email me (jen@philsharphomes.com) with your wants, needs and budget! Have questions about the schools? Send me an email or give me a call at 360-970-6913.


Fort Lewis- McChord (JBLM) BAH Rates 2016

This is the current Basic Housing Allowance for JBLM soldiers in 2016. DOD reviews these rates annually to determine pay based on rank, with and without dependents. It is given to help soldiers in their housing needs, and is non taxable. See all BAH rates here.


for Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Effective 1 January 2016
BAH W/O Dependent BAH With Dependent
E1 1,125.00 E1 1,500.00
E2 1,125.00 E2 1,500.00
E3 1,125.00 E3 1,500.00
E4 1,125.00 E4 1,500.00
E5 1,281.00 E5 1,635.00
E6 1,383.00 E6 1,743.00
E7 1,509.00 E7 1,815.00
E8 1,659.00 E8 1,893.00
E9 1,686.00 E9 1,989.00
W1 1,452.00 W1 1,746.00
W2 1,656.00 W2 1,848.00
W3 1,692.00 W3 1,944.00
W4 1,755.00 W4 2,007.00
W5 1,830.00 W5 2,082.00
01E 1,635.00 01E 1,827.00
02E 1,683.00 02E 1,929.00
03E 1,737.00 03E 2,019.00
01 1,365.00 01 1,650.00
02 1,593.00 02 1,740.00
03 1,701.00 03 1,941.00
04 1,815.00 04 2,109.00
05 1,860.00 05 2,232.00
06 1,938.00 06 2,253.00
07+ 1,980.00 07+ 2,274.00

messy-kidThe idea of trying to sell your home not only while you are currently living in it, but living in it with KIDS can seem a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry…it can be done! Deborah Kearns over at Realtor.com has come up with some simple tips on how to keep your home show ready even with little ones running around. Check out Smart Tips for Selling Your Home While Living in It With Kids.

It’s important to remember that when you decide to put your home on the market that keeping it looking nice will help with the sale. Potential buyers can have a hard time looking around a mess even if it could be there perfect home. Make sure to keep things as tidy as possible and it should help!

For more information on selling your home in the Thurston County/JBLM area, give Phil a call at 360-970-9977