Home sales in Whatcom County jumped 16.6 percent this summer during the key season for real estate.
Whatcom County real estate agents sold 757 houses and condominiums during June, July and August, well up from last summer, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. In August agents sold 262 houses and condos, up 4.8 percent from the previous August.
Summer is typically the busiest time of year when it comes to Whatcom County residential sales, making this year's increase a significant one, according to Darin Stenvers, the managing broker at the Bellingham office of John L. Scott Real Estate.
"(This summer) was a good correction in the market," Stenvers said. "I would say the market has stabilized."
The stronger sales also led to an uptick in prices. The median price of homes sold locally in August was $237,250, up 1 percent compared to a year earlier.
Stenvers expects sales to remain stable for the rest of 2012, with a slight appreciation in price. What's helped stabilize the market, he said, is that there's less distressed property - particularly foreclosures - dragging down the market.
"The worry about shadow inventory (distressed property that isn't on the market) is gone for now," Stenvers said. "We're not seeing nearly as much foreclosed property as we would expect."
Sales and the median price also increased in the 21 Washington counties the NWMLS serves. According to the report, overall sales of houses and condos in August were up 15.9 percent compared to a year earlier. The median price was $250,000, up 5.9 percent year over year.
In Skagit County, residential sales in August rose 13.4 percent compared to a year earlier.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.