Whatcom County home prices up amid tight inventory

The Bellingham Business Journal

In Whatcom County in January there were 19 percent fewer homes on the market than there were at the same time in 2015, according to number released from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

This lack of inventory can be seen throughout the state, and is much worse in some areas, leading to hectic scenes at open houses.

“There haven’t been any battle royals on the premises, but it could happen any day now,” said Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma, in a statement.

In Whatcom County, there were just 777 listings, versus 960 last year. The pickings for Whatcom County homebuyers are even slimmer in the condo market where January listings were down to 112 from 164 last year, a decrease of 31.7 percent.

The tight supply is raising prices. The median price of all sales closed last month was $264,000, a 4.3 percent increase year over year. The price of single-family homes is up even more. The median price of single-family homes sold was $279,500, a 6.8 percent increase over last year’s median of $261,500.

This seller’s market can hit first-time homebuyers especially hard, George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties, said.

“For sellers there is no better time in history, but the concern we hear is there’s no place to move,” he said. And since most sellers are looking to move up to larger homes, there’s a ripple effect that is “more like a tidal wave as it rolls back to the first-time buyers in the market who are quickly getting priced out of the possibility of purchasing a home.”

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