Business

Whatcom home sales are off to a sizzling start this season. Will it continue?

See the homes you can buy for $300,000 to $400,000 in Bellingham

The median home sales price in Whatcom County increased 12% from $344,000 in 2017 to $382,800 in 2018. Here’s what you can buy for $300,000 to $400,000 in Bellingham in June 2019.
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The median home sales price in Whatcom County increased 12% from $344,000 in 2017 to $382,800 in 2018. Here’s what you can buy for $300,000 to $400,000 in Bellingham in June 2019.

Whatcom County real estate agents were very busy in May selling houses and condominiums despite little inventory.

Last month agents sold 385 units in Whatcom County, an 11.9% increase compared to a year ago, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. It’s also a 36% increase compared to the number sold in April.

The median price for those houses and condos sold was $382,500, a 2.3% increase compared to May 2018.

The number of new homes listed for sale has increased this spring, but it has not kept up with demand, said Darin Stenvers, branch manager at the John L. Scott Bellingham office.

“New listings are coming on and pending within a day or two,” said Stenvers in an interview with The Bellingham Herald.

Inventory remains particularly scarce in Bellingham. In the June 7 active listings for Bellingham, Stenvers said the only available places for sale under $300,000 were either manufactured homes or condos.

That has led to a hot market for entry-level condominiums, Stenvers said, noting that some are realizing that a mortgage on a $265,000 condo unit is less than typical Bellingham rents.

One factor in the buying surge is low interest rates. A typical 30-year mortgage rate is under 4% during what is typically the peak season for home buying in Whatcom County.

Stenvers expects sales to remain up year-over-year this summer, but at a slower rate than what happened in May.

According to the May report, Whatcom’s monthly inventory has dropped to 1.8, meaning it would take less than two months for the current supply to completely sell out if nothing else came on the market.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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