Whatcom County home sales up 44.2 percent in July

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Whatcom County are continuing to trend upward this summer, according to market statistics from July 2013 reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Local NMLS brokers reported 323 closed residential sales in July 2013, a 44.2 percent increase from 224 closings in July 2012.

Pending sales in Whatcom County are also up, according to the NMLS. This July, brokers reported 365 pending sales, a 13.7 percent increase from 321 during the same month last year.

Whatcom’s residential sale prices, both average and median, drop slightly when figures from July 2013 are directly compared to those reported in July 2012, NMLS stats show.

The median price on a residential sales in Whatcom County was $252,000 in July 2013, down from $254,800 during July 2012. The average price of a local home was $280,677 this July, a drop from $285,147 during the same month last year.

But price averages from the beginning of 2013 through July are above those reported during the same time period in 2012.

New active listings Whatcom County’s available residential properties rose sharply in July, according to the NMLS. Local brokers reported 511 new active listings in July 2013, a 28.1 percent increase from 399 in July 2012.

Yet the total inventory of available homes remains at about the same level as it did last year.

The jump in sales activity was attributed in part to a recent rise in mortgage interest rates, according to a news release from the NMLS, as more buyers move to finalize home purchases quickly out of fear that rates might increase further as the year continues.

The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage was 4.37 percent at the end of July 2013, up from a rate of 3.41 percent at the beginning of the year, according to Freddie Mac.

The supply of available homes remained thin across the region, particularly in job centers, according to the NMLS.

Whatcom County has a 4.5-month supply of single-family homes and condos, according to the July 2013 statistics—above the regional average of 2.6 months. The NMLS says that in a normal market, a healthy supply level favoring neither buyers nor sellers is around six months.

Across the 21 Washington state counties the NMLS serves, the median price on closed residential sales was $282,363 in July 2013; the average price was $348,291.

Evan Marczynski, staff reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or evan@bbjtoday.com

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