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How long will it continue? Home appreciation remains hot in Whatcom County

Home appreciation across Washington state is outpacing much of the U.S.
Home appreciation across Washington state is outpacing much of the U.S. McClatchy

Homes in Whatcom County are continuing to appreciate faster than most of the U.S., according to a new federal report.

Local home values rose 12.68 percent in the third quarter compared to a year earlier, according to a home price index report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

That ranked the Bellingham metro area seventh highest among the 253 metro areas in the study.

The Seattle metro area ranked first in the U.S. with a 14.15 percent jump. The Tacoma area ranked sixth with a 12.69 percent rise.

It’s the third straight quarter where Whatcom County posted double-digit year-over-year home appreciation. The index looks at purchased and refinanced mortgages to determine changes in home values.

Home appreciation across Washington state is outpacing much of the U.S. The state had a year-over-year appreciation increase of 11.53 percent, second to the District of Columbia’s 11.59 percent. The U.S. average increase was 6.54 percent.

“With relatively favorable economic conditions and a continued shortage of housing supply, price increases in the third quarter were generally robust and widespread,” said Andrew Leventis, deputy chief economist for the agency, in a news release accompanying the data. “At some point, declining housing affordability should temper appreciation rates in some of the nation’s fastest appreciating markets, but our third quarter results show few signs of that.”

Low inventory and strong demand appear to be the driving factors for rising home prices in Whatcom County, although there were some signs of inventory increasing in October, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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