Whatcom home sales slow in April, expected to pick up in May


Whatcom County real estate agents had a slow April, but it appears to be a momentary slowdown as the spring home-buying season gets into full swing.

Last month local agents sold 190 houses and condominiums, a 10.4 percent decrease compared to April 2013, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

New homes coming on the market in Whatcom County jumped significantly in April. According to the data, 525 homes were newly listed for sale in April, up 17.4 percent compared to a year earlier.

The later-than-usual surge in new listings probably was a factor in the slower April sales, said Darin Stenvers, manager at the Bellingham John L. Scott office and this year's chairman of the board of directors at the NWMLS. He noted that activity really started picking up at the end of April and the first few days of May.

"Spring is when things start to happen, and like the weather, spring seemed to start a little later this year," Stenvers said.

Whatcom County home inventory appears to slightly favor buyers. According to the NWMLS, Whatcom County had 7.3 months of inventory in April. Six months of inventory is generally considered a balanced market. Across the 21 counties the NWMLS serves, inventory was estimated at 3.5 months.

The median price of the local homes and condos sold in April was $254,000, up 2.3 percent compared to a year ago. The median price across the NWMLS area was $275,000, up 1.9 percent in the past year.

Across the NWMLS, 6,190 houses and condos were sold in April, down less than 1 percent compared to a year ago. In Skagit County 67 houses and condos sold last month, up 34 percent compared to April 2013.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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