What is Bellingham’s Market Velocity?

Sold homeHappy Monday! Every week we keep track of how many homes are for sale around Bellingham and Whatcom County and how many of those homes have pending offers on them. Pending is the time frame between when an offer has been mutual accepted between the buyer’s and the seller’s of the home and when the title actually transfers hands. This give the buyer’s time to get the financing, do inspection, review the title reports and more.

As of Saturday, April 12th the pending ratio in Bellingham was 28%. Click the links to view a report of how many homes are for sale in each area and price range and how many of them are pending showing just how active certain sectors of the market are.

Birch Bay has a pending ratio of 21%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 19%

The Lynden pending ratio was 31%

The Sudden Valley pending ratio was 30%

If you would like to search for Real Estate in Bellingham and Whatcom County that is currently for sale visit www.JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com where you can search for homes for sale in Bellingham and real estate around Whatcom County.

Moving Truck Non-Profit User of the Quarter

The Johnson Team is proud to offer our moving truck FREE of charge to community organizations and our clients. Below is this quarter’s featured non-profit:

WeSnip’s goal is to end dog and cat euthanasia and over population in Whatcom County by offering accessible and affordable spay and neutering services as well as community outreach and education. Since 2008, their program has resulted in an 87% drop in the number of unweaned kittens euthanized by the Humane Society. It’s working.

“THANK YOU SO MUCH for letting WeSNiP borrow your moving van this past weekend!!!! Not only did it save us a ton of money to rent a truck, but it was perfect for the job! We couldn’t have been more pleased.
Dianne, WeSnip www.WeSnip.org

Your referrals let us provide help to Whatcom county non-profit organizations who benefit our community. Please think of us when a friend or relative talks about moving – and tell your favorite non-profit to give us a call when they need a truck!

Spring Nest Cookies, Perfect for Easter!

These adorable nest shaped cookies are always a hit of any spring party or easter gathering. The cookies are simple to make and even the kiddos like to get involved. One point to mentions, they are pretty messy to make!


· 1 (11-12oz) bag milk chocolate chips

· 1 (11-12oz) bag butterscotch chips

· 1 (10-12oz) bag chow mien noodles

· Small Egg shaped candies such as chocolate eggs or jelly beans


Combine both packages of chips in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 60 seconds. Stir and repeat until all melted. Add bag of chow mein noodles and stir until noodles are coated.

Lay out wax paper and drop large tablespoonfuls of chocolate noodles onto wax paper. Mold into bird’s nest shape.

Place a few candy “eggs” on top of each nest. Let the nest harden and then enjoy!

Blackmouth Salmon Fishing Off the Coast of Bellingham

Boy do we just love the Blackmouth Fishing Season. This is clearly the best salmon on the barbeque fresh and super red in color . We have been lucky enough to have plenty of it to eat as of late.

Mike and Kim were on the 2902 Trophy for the Anacortes Salmon Derby which was held March 29-30th and managed to land 4 fish on Saturday. The largest was just over 20 lbs and held onto 2nd place by the time the derby had ended. The fish was caught on the north end of Orcas Island.

The fishing has been generally pretty good from what we have heard. Most trips out the boaters are bringing back a fish or two. The expectations are super high for the summer run of kings coming down from Alaska.

Ling Cod opens May 1st and runs through June 15th. The halibut regulation dates are out as well. For marine area 7 the open dates are – May 9,10,17,22,23,24,25,29,30,31 & June 7th.

The Halibut/Ling cod seasons are our favorites. If you have any questions or need any tips-Just give The Johnson Team fishing Hotline a call at 360-303-2734 and we will be happy to help.

Community Energy Challenge- News You Can Use!

Spring at last!  Fortunately, our winter was pretty mild, but if you wish your heating bills had been lower, or your house cozier over the winter, now is the time to check out a great service available to homeowners in Whatcom County.   You have probably heard of Sustainable Connections.  They have a variety of programs, and during the last year Rich & Lylene had personal experience with one of them: The Community Energy Challenge We built our house in the early 80’s and tried to make it energy efficient., but as heating costs increased, the bills kept getting higher.

A year ago our son convinced us to contact Sustainable Connections about their Community Energy Challenge.   We started by signing up for an energy assessment.  It took about 5 hours for a building analyst to go through the house, pressure test it for leaks & look at the various systems and building details.  In a few days we sat down with an energy adviser, who went through the findings and made suggestions as to what was most cost effective.  He suggested contractors trained in energy efficient construction, and we chose one.  When the work was done,  a staff member came to the house to make sure it was properly done.  Some of the work was eligible for incentives or rebates, and the adviser guided us through that process. It was a great experience.  The suggestions made sense, implementation was easy…and our heating bill dropped dramatically.

If you would like to check them out, go to    http://sustainableconnections.org/energy/energychallenge

Team Talk

The market is heating up along with the outside temperature, and we are ready for a busy spring and summer. Remember, we are always here with advice and assistance for your real estate needs. We value your help in keeping us busy!

Mike Kim & Lauren are all ready for the spring weather. Lauren has her eye set on a garden ,so we will look for some space around the house and add a few raised beds if needed. With the Lingcod and Halibut seasons around the corner it feels like any spare time may be spent on the boat for the next 45 days or so.

Rich & Lylene made their annual trip to Virginia in January & managed to drop down to Roatan for a week of snorkeling. Fortunately, they missed the snow storms the east coast had. Then in February they met several of Rich’s Marine Corps friends in San Diego for a couple of days, and managed to be there during the most torrential rains of the year! Lylene is taking a series of 4 classes on green building and home efficiency offered by ReSources and Sustainable Connections…very interesting stuff.

Graham is still working for the composites firm in Burlington – it’s fun to hear about their wide variety of projects. He’s also training for a variety of endurance running events this spring & summer, and will be in Italy again in September for the Tor Des Geants, a 330km run in the Alps.

Fawn is excited that racing season is here and she and her family will be spending lots of time at the racetracks this spring and summer. McKenna just got a new dirt bike and is almost ready to ditch her training wheels, not too shabby for a 3 year old.

The Johnson Team Real Estate

Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate Update

Perception and Reality

The next statements were my perceptions over the past month, so don’t stop reading until you get to the reality section.

Over the past month, multiple homes have sold in a matter of days with multiple offers. Homes priced below $300,000 are selling fastest, by far. The real estate market has heated up dramatically. Pending sales are dropping because of low inventory. Again, this has been my perception. Last night when I pulled up the numbers for the past month, put them in the spreadsheet, calculated the percentages and charted them, the following became obvious:

  • Homes under $300,000 actually took just a tiny bit longer to sell than did homes from $300,000 to $750,000.
  • Only a handful of homes have sold for more than list price, which is a prime indicator of multiple offers.
  • The velocity of the market (turnover of homes) is gradually slowing down, and I don’t think it is due to low inventory. Overall inventory is up very slightly in Bellingham, but the number of pending sales as of mid March was down 20% from last year. Basically the same amount of inventory last year stimulated a higher pending sale percentage (this trend actually started last October).

The point? Don’t simply accept perceptions – check them out.

Let’s look at some Whatcom County numbers for the 1st Quarter 2014 vs 2013:

  • Bellingham: Units Sold up 8.9% Average Price up 7.5% Median Price down 0.5%
  • Ferndale: Units Down 4.5% Average Price down 4.5% Median Price down 0.8%
  • Sudden Valley: Units Sold up 48% Average Price down 0.4% Median Price down 3.4%
  • Birch Bay/Blaine: Units Sold up 3.9% Average Price Up 19.6% Median Price up 18.2%
  • Lynden: Units Sold down 13.6% Average Price down 2.4% Median Price down 5.2%
  • Nooksack Valley: Units No change Average Price down 14.5% Median Price up 12.6%
  • Mt Baker Units Sold down 3.1% Average Price down 12.6% Median Price up 5%

Many of these numbers are down – does that mean the market is tanking again? No. What we are seeing is simply a more normal market, one with numbers moving up and down depending on the particular properties available and selling. The underpinnings are good. Unemployment is down in Whatcom County, interest rates are good, people are moving in from other areas, new construction is increasing, and buyers are not under as much pressure to make a really fast decision. It is a much more rational market. And if we look at Whatcom County overall, we see this when comparing 1st Quarters:

  • Units Sold up 6.6% Average Sale Price up 3.5% Median Sale Price up 1.6%

So if you are looking to buy, take enough time to learn the market and think through a very important decision. If you are looking to sell, make sure you are offering the best product you can…because one thing never changes: the good ones sell first.

Spring is Coming! Is your lawn ready?

Hand LawnAlthough we have experienced some fun snow “moments” here in the last few weeks, Spring is on her way officially this month. Now is the time to attend to our lawns and get ahead of the curve to achieve a vibrant and healthy turf! Winter can change soil pH, compact the soil and create hospitable environments for weeds and disease.

Here are a few tips to get you started:


1. Give your yard a good raking now. This helps with thatch build up and leaf removal left over from last season. This will remove any dead grass blades and give you a fresh start. Also, if you find any “matted patches” from winter, a light raking will help you to avoid a disease called “snow mold”. It’s best to start this step after all the snow is gone for the season… Watch for uneven areas. Low spots cause poor drainage and high spots can get scalped by the lawn mower. A shovel can help you even out the ground…cut back raised areas and fill in the depressed ones. For very large lawns, you can rent a de-thatcher.


2. Check for compaction. Compaction happens when there is high foot traffic. Grass can’t take root when there is compaction and weeds can flourish. Moss can signify compaction (among other things). The remedy is lawn aeration. Aeration is best performed in late Spring, in our area of the country. How do you know if your lawn is compacted? Try this trick: stick a garden fork into the ground. If the tines fail to penetrate 2 inches (5.08 centimeters), your soil is compacted and should be loosened with an aerator designed to remove small plugs of soil from your lawn.


3. Moss also signals acidity. Grass likes it neutral, so lime is a good idea to help this situation, although it’s a slow fix. ONLY lime if there is truly an acidity issue, otherwise, you can go backwards as your lawn may become alkaline, which is not helpful either. Consider having your lawn tested to identify its condition. Also, consider an iron application which is usually in spray form. Within days, the turf should respond to the iron applications and turn darker green in color.


4. You may need to overseed if you have dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect *(bare, brown spots). A slow release nitrogen fertilizer should be applied while overseeding. Five weeks later, after the grass germinates, apply a quick release nitrogen fertilizer.


Special thanks to our friends at Corion Landscape Management for the great article. If you need professional help with getting our lawn ready for spring, Corion Landscape Management is here to help. Corion offers exceptional landscaping installation and maintenance services for Bellingham, Ferndale, Mt. Vernon, Burilington and all of Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties.

Prime Commercial Location!

Just listed 2124 James Street. Located in one of the most desirable locations in Bellingham. Just a few blocks south of Trader Joes. The space is currently a luxurious hair salon-but the commercial location would work for most any business. The building has been completely remodeled electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, roof, walls, flooring, lighting and more Professional private offices would be easy, as a reception area already in. ADA access is in back with a ton of parking. Ask about owner/seller terms. To view a virtual tour of the property and learn more see below:

View the Tour

Open House today 2:00-4:00pm at 3412 Boxwood Ave in Bellingham!

Come on out to 3412 Boxwood Ave in Bellingham and visit Lylene Johnson as she hosts an Open House from 2:00-4:00pm.  Located in a  private setting,   like new home, and a  wonderful shop…what more could anyone want?!

An open plan and high ceilings give a spacious feeling and open onto a covered patio perfect for grilling in sun or rain. Need some quiet? the upstairs bonus room is totally private. master suite features double walk-in closets, double sinks and both tub & shower. Add a triple garage & 28.36 shop…this property has something for everyone! Listed for sale for $389,000

View the Tour