Bellingham spring home sale prices reach a new milestone

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.

Bellingham’s hot real estate market hit another milestone in the second quarter, one that might make potential homebuyers cringe.

The median price for homes sold in Bellingham this past spring was $501,500, a 10.7% jump compared to a year ago. That’s according to a report put together by Troy Muljat of Muljat Group Realtors, who uses data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

It’s the first time the median price of homes sold topped $500,000 in Bellingham in any quarter, according to Muljat, who continues to express surprise at how fast prices keep climbing.

“It just can’t continue at this pace,” he said in an interview with The Bellingham Herald.

Several factors are in play during this springtime rise in home sale prices:

Muljat said the inventory situation has changed in Bellingham where higher-end homes are selling and there are very few first-time homes on the market. The opposite shift happened in Lynden, where an influx of smaller-home sales drove the median price down 6.2% to $380,000.

Difficult winter weather conditions in the first few months of 2019 created some pent-up demand in the second quarter. Overall, the numbers of Bellingham homes sold rose 2.6% for the second quarter compared to a year ago.

Interest rates remain very low, giving buyers more flexibility.

While there was a brief surge of homes coming on the market earlier this year, inventory remains very low, according to Muljat. That surge created a small window of opportunity for buyers to snap up homes newly on the market.

“Demand continues to outpace the supply of single-family homes in Bellingham,” Muljat said.

The median sales price also rose across Whatcom County, but not as dramatically. The median price for Whatcom County homes sold was $405,000 in the second quarter, a 5.2% increase compared to a year ago. Home sales were up 2.2% percent for the quarter.

Blaine/Birch Bay had a banner quarter for home sales, jumping 43.9% compared to a year ago. With smaller markets, large jumps can come from a smaller number of sales.

For the rest of the summer, Muljat expects more of the same, particularly if interest rates remain low.

“I find it hard to believe, but the market conditions indicate (home) values can keep rising,” Muljat said.

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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.