Bellingham led 1Q home sales, prices in Whatcom County

Bellingham’s gains in first-quarter home sales and prices outpaced those seen across Whatcom County as a whole, while market activity in several smaller communities slowed.

First-quarter home sales in Bellingham rose 21.4 percent to 176 from last year, and the median price of sales rose 8.2 percent to $272,636, according to data from real-estate agent Lylene Johnson of The Muljat Group.

While sales were mixed in the county’s small cities and rural areas, the entire county still experienced increases of 8.5 percent in homes sold (410) and 7.5 percent in median price ($246,750). in comparison to 2012.

An improving economy and low interest rates were factors in the higher number of sales, Johnson said, while sales at higher price points and a declining number of houses for sale were contributing to higher median prices. Johnson noted that Bellingham had 516 homes for sale in mid-March 2010, but only 295 for sale in the same week this year.

“While inventory should increase somewhat as prices strengthen, there are still many homeowners who cannot afford to sell due to their debt level, so those homes won’t come into the inventory pool,” Johnson said, in a press release. “The number of short sales and bank-owned properties has been declining. While we are seeing more new construction, spec construction financing for builders is still tight and tends to limit the number of small builders who can contribute to the new home inventory.”

Despite low interest rates, Johnson said buyers still may experience difficulty in getting bank loans. Lenders are requiring more documentation than ever, and low appraisals are a real concern, she said.

Johnson also said that sellers must be realistic and buyers should be prepared if they are entering Whatcom County’s housing market.

“Owners must realize that the houses that sell are the ones that look the best, smell the best, are in the best locations and are priced to beat the competition,” she said. “Buyers must do their homework so they can quickly act when they find the best house. Have your financing set up before you even start to look; sellers with choices don’t take offers from unqualified buyers. Face the fact that if it is the best house in the market, you will probably need to pay full price or very close to it.”

Johnson analyzed data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service to calculate comprehensive statistics for local communities.

By The Numbers

Whatcom County
Median sales price, $246,750, up 7.5 percent; average sales price, $268,477, up 4.5 percent; total homes sold, 410, up 8.5 percent; average days on the market, 86, down 39 percent.

Median sales price, $272,636, up 8.2 percent; average sales price, $302,336, up 1.6 percent; total homes sold, 176, up 21.4 percent; average days on the market, 144, up 11.6 percent.

Blaine/Birch Bay
Median sales price, $194,500, down 7.4 percent; average sales price, $222,650, down 12.9 percent; total homes sold, 50, down 5.7 percent; average days on the market, 141, down 11.3 percent.

Median sales price, $252,000, up 9.6 percent; average sales price, $267,010, up 8.2 percent; total homes sold, 58, down 13.4 percent; average days on the market, 113, down 20.4 percent.

Median sales price, $254,250, up 1.7 percent; average sales price, $259,118, down 5.4 percent; total homes sold, 40, down 11.1 percent; average days on the market, 112, down 18.8 percent.

Mount Baker
Median sales price, $119,000, up 48.8 percent; average sales price, $205,260, up 102.9 percent; total homes sold, 32, up 10.3 percent; average days on the market, 199, unchanged.

Nooksack Valley
Median sales price, $190,000, down 10.3 percent; average sales price, $251,535, up 24.2 percent; total homes sold, 17, up 30.8 percent; average days on the market, 192, up 5.5 percent.

Sudden Valley
Median sales price, $208,450, down 3.0 percent; average sales price, $220,929, down 3.0 percent; total homes sold, 24, down 4.0 percent; average days on the market, 113, up 14.1 percent.

Source: Lylene Johnson of The Muljat Group


Tags: , ,

Related Stories