Home sales down, prices up in Whatcom County

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 4, 2014 

Real Estate Sales

Real Estate Sales.

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Home sales in Bellingham slowed in the second quarter, but it appears a lack of available homes in certain price ranges could be a factor.

Bellingham experienced a 14.8 percent drop in home sales compared to the second quarter of 2013, according to a report from Lylene Johnson of The Muljat Group. The report is based on data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which Johnson uses to focus on Whatcom County trends.

While overall home listings in Bellingham are up, Johnson noticed that's not the case in terms of homes listed for under $500,000, particularly in the under-$300,000 range. The higher inventory is currently for Bellingham homes more than $500,000.

"What I'm noticing is an imbalance of inventory. It's not just that (homes under $500,000) are harder to find in Bellingham, but people want the nicest thing," said Johnson, adding that many buyers are willing to wait if they aren't finding homes that meet their criteria.

With several new homes soon becoming available in the Bellingham market, Johnson expects that will help the under-$500,000 inventory. Some new housing projects currently underway include along Yew Street and the Cordata neighborhood.

"I'd say it's a fairly stable market right now," Johnson said, adding that she expects real estate agents to be busy the rest of this summer, just not as busy as last year.

Home sales in the second quarter were down in most Whatcom County communities, with the exception of Ferndale (up 6.5 percent) and Nooksack (up 30 percent).

While sales have been down, prices have risen. In Whatcom County, the median price last quarter was $272,950, up 3 percent compared to the same period last year. While this area has seen an increase in higher-end homes that may influence the median price, Johnson said the difference between supply and demand in certain price points, like under $300,000, will gradually push prices higher.

HOME SALES ACROSS WHATCOM COUNTY

The median sales price, average sales price, number of units sold and average days on the market (DOM) before a sale for the county and individual communities for the second quarter of 2014, with percentage comparisons to the second quarter of 2013:

Location Median price Avg. price Units sold DOM
 Whatcom County  $272,950, +3%  $310,854, +5.3%  626, -8.1%  109, +2.8%
 Bellingham  $305,000, +1.7%  $378,707, +9.3%  277, -14.8%  81, -2.4%
 Birch Bay/Blaine  $218,250, -5.1%  $241,788, -7.4%  74, -1.3%  117, -17.6%
 Ferndale  $275,000, +5.8%  $294,583, +11.3%  98, +6.5%  106, +14%
 Lynden  $277,450, +2.7%  $286,748, -2.2%  56, -9.7%  132, +14.8%
 Mount Baker  $149,500, +31.5%  $157,428, +19.7%  38, -7.3%  215, +26.5%
 Nooksack Valley  $215,000, -5.7%  $226,670, +6.7%  26, +30%  118, -13.9%
 Sudden Valley  $245,000, +14.5%  $248,834, +11.5%  45, -4.3%  120, -13%
SOURCE: LYLENE JOHNSON, THE MULJAT GROUP

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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