Whatcom home values still on the rise, but the market is starting to slow down

The Bellingham Herald file

A new federal report suggests the red-hot Bellingham real estate market is finally starting to cool off.

The value of Whatcom County home rose 9.9 percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago, according to the Federal Housing Financial Agency. That’s still above the national average increase, but well below the second quarter jump of 13.1 percent. It also snaps a six-quarter streak of double-digit, year-over-year home appreciation increases.

While home appreciation increased 6.3 percent nationally, it’s also slowing down, said William Doerner, supervisory economist for the federal agency in a news release accompanying the data.

“Rising mortgage rates have cooled down housing markets — several regions and over two-thirds of states are showing slower annual gains,” Doerner said in the news release.

Signs of a slowdown in Whatcom County have showed up in other data. Last month homes sales in Whatcom County were down 8.5 percent compared to a year before, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Other metro areas in Washington state are still seeing double-digit home appreciation increases. Wenatchee had the fourth-highest increase among 243 metro areas, rising 13.8 percent year-over-year. Bremerton ranked eighth highest with a 12.5 percent increase, Mount Vernon was 11th at 12.1 percent and Tacoma was 13th at 11.6 percent.

Seattle ranked 30th highest, with a 10.4 percent increase in home appreciation in the past year. In a separate study, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index indicates that Seattle home values dropped 1.3 percent between August and September. Home values in Seattle also dropped 1.6 percent between July and August.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269; @BhamHeraldBiz.
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