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Whatcom County home sales rise in third quarter, but cooling trend could be coming

Real Estate Sales.
Real Estate Sales. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Whatcom County home sales were brisk in the third quarter, but a sluggish September indicates a possible slowdown heading into the final months of 2014.

Last quarter 766 Whatcom County homes were sold, up 5.1 percent compared to a year ago, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data put together by Lylene Johnson of The Muljat Group. The median price of those homes sold in the third quarter was $277,000, up 4.5 percent compared to a year earlier.

However, sales slowed in September, particularly in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden. The median price also dropped across Whatcom County for the month. Real estate typically slows after the summer peak, but Johnson said September is usually busy. It could be a result of the overall national trend of a slowing market.

“It will be interesting to see if this trend continues into the winter,” Johnson said. “These are indicators that our market will remain stable at best, and could slide a bit.”

The type of houses purchased in September also shifted compared to a year ago. According to Johnson’s report, more homes in Bellingham were purchased in the under-$300,000 price range and fewer were purchased above $300,000 last month compared to a year earlier.

“These shifts could account for the average and median price declines in the overall Bellingham market,” Johnson said.

HOME SALES BY COMMUNITY

Here is the median sales price, average sales price, number of units sold and average days on the market (DOM) for the third quarter of 2014, with percentage comparisons of 2013:

Community Median price Chg Avg. price Chg Units sold Chg DOM Chg
Whatcom County $277,000 +4.5% $315,134 +5.2% 766 +5.1% 89 +11.3%
Bellingham $312,750 +4% $365,356 +2.9% 349 +0.3% 63 +5%
Birch Bay/Blaine $258,000 +17.3% $303,326 +16% 84 -7.7% 138 +35.3%
Ferndale $257,500 -4.6% $282,147 +1.5% 113 +11.9% 115 +15.0%
Lynden $282,500 +12.4% $300,159 +12.4% 74 +32.1% 93 +47.6%
Mount Baker $117,500 +67.9% $162,762 +18.3% 58 +56.8% 128 None
Nooksack Valley $245,000 +4.3% $299,342 +32.4% 37 +37% 71 -22.8%
Sudden Valley $228,750 +2% $248,478 +7.8% 84 -7.7% 94 +25.3%
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