Whatcom County landed near the top of a national real estate list, which is good news for homeowners and not-so-good news for those trying to buy a house.
At the end of March home values in Whatcom County appreciated 10.9 percent compared to a year ago, according to a home price index report from the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency.
That increase was the 14th highest among 382 metro areas – the index looks at purchased and refinance mortgages to determine the changes in appreciation.
Washington state metro areas were well represented in the list of highest home appreciation for the first quarter:
▪ The Bremerton metro area had the highest home appreciation increase in the U.S., rising 14.3 percent.
▪ Seattle ranked third in the nation with a 12 percent increase.
▪ Tacoma ranked ninth, at 11.4 percent.
Washington state ranked fourth highest in year-over-year appreciation, trailing the District of Columbia, Colorado and Idaho.
Low inventory and strong demand continue to drive up prices in Whatcom County.
In April the area had about two months of available inventory, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That means if no new listings came on the market, it would take about two months to completely exhaust inventory.
Over the course of five years, homes in Whatcom County have appreciated 29.3 percent. While a significant rise, it is well behind Seattle’s 57.4 percent jump in the same period.
Home values appreciated 6.3 percent in the Mount Vernon/Anacortes metro area, ranking it 90th highest in the U.S.