Q1 data show stability in Whatcom County's housing market

Activity in Whatcom County’s housing market during the first quarter of 2014 brought few surprises and gradual year-to-year increases in total sales and home prices, said Lylene Johnson, a broker with The Muljat Group.

The news should come as a promising sign for both buyers and sellers looking for predictability going into the home-sales season later this year.

“It’s really pretty stable,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing super exciting going on, but there’s nothing horrible.”

Johnson’s recent analysis of quarterly market data showed total home sales increased 6.6 percent in the first quarter this year compared to the same time period in 2013.

The median sale price of homes sold in Whatcom County also increased 1.6 percent to $249,000 at same time, according to Johnson’s analysis, which used data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

That increase was caused mainly by an 18.2 percent jump in Birch Bay/Blaine. Median prices in Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and Sudden Valley dropped slightly in the first quarter this year.

Sales in the county are continuing a gradual trend upward, according to Johnson, with closings in the $300,000-$500,000 price range making up a growing portion of the overall market.

Johnson said a variety of factors are contributing to normalcy in Whatcom County’s home-sales activity, including lower unemployment, attractive mortgage rates, more new construction, and stable housing inventory decreasing pressure on buyers to make fast decisions.

By the numbers

Whatcom County home sales, Q1 2014

County total: Median price, $249,000 (up 1.6 percent); average price, $276,663 (up 3.5 percent); total homes sold, 451 (up 6.6 percent); average days on the market, 121 (up 5.2 percent)

Bellingham: Median price, $268,500 (down 0.5 percent); average price, $323,018 (up 7.6 percent); total homes sold, 196 ( up 8.9 percent); average days on the market, 97 (up 14.1 percent)

Blaine/Birch Bay: Median price, $227,000 (up 18.2 percent); average price, $265,453 (up 19.6 percent); total homes sold, 53 (up 3.9 percent); average days on the market, 184 (up 32.4 percent)

Ferndale: Median price, $249,990 (down 0.8 percent); average price, $253,417 (down 4.5 percent); total homes sold, 65 (up 8.3 percent); average days on the market, 108 (down 3.6 percent)

Lynden: Median price, $249,950 (down 5.2 percent); average price, $253,125 (down 2.4 percent); total homes sold, 38 (down 13.6 percent); average days on the market, 83 (down 30.8 percent)

Mount Baker: Median price, $125,000 (up 5.0 percent); average price, $179,440 (down 12.6 percent); total homes sold, 31 (down 3.1 percent); average days on the market, 168 (down 15.6 percent)

Nooksack Valley: Median price, $214,000 (up 12.6 percent); average price, $215,176 (down 14.5 percent); total homes sold, 17 (up 30.8 percent); average days on the market, 192 (up 5.5 percent)

Sudden Valley: Median price, $199,900 (down 3.4 percent); average price, $217,920 (down 0.4 percent); total homes sold, 37 (up 48.0 percent); average days on the market, 129 (up 17.3 percent)

Percentages compare change between Q1 2014 and Q1 2013.

Source: Lylene Johnson, The Muljat Group

Evan Marczynski, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or evan@bbjtoday.com

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