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When it comes to home appreciation, Whatcom County continues to outpace most of U.S.

McClatchy

Whatcom County continues to rank near the top in the U.S. when it comes to home appreciation.

Local home values rose 12.2 percent at the end of 2017 compared to a year earlier, according to a home price index report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That ranked the Bellingham metro area eighth highest out of 253 metro areas.

Washington state dominated the list of metro areas experiencing the highest appreciation. Tacoma topped the list with a 14.6 percent increase, while Seattle was second with 14.3 percent. Mount Vernon was fifth at 12.9 percent while Wenatchee was ninth at 12 percent.

It was the fourth-straight quarter where Whatcom County posted double-digit year-over-year home appreciation with this index, which looks at purchased and refinanced mortgages to determine changes in home values.

Andrew Leventis, deputy chief economist for the agency, hinted that this torrid pace across the U.S. could begin slowing down soon.

“As we begin to evaluate home prices in the first quarter, we will monitor whether new headwinds – higher mortgage rates and changes in tax laws – will lead to any moderation in the rate of house price growth,” Leventis said in a news release accompanying the data.

In Whatcom County, low inventory and strong demand continues to be a factor in rising home prices. The area had 485 houses and condominiums listed for sale in January, a 6 percent decrease compared to the year before, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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