After September’s lackluster showing against 2013 in what are typically the strongest markets in Whatcom County, October sales ran neck and neck with a year ago. Average and median sale prices increased in all areas except Bellingham, where the average sale price was down 4.6% from a year ago, and the median was off by 7.8%. This was the result of a higher percentage of sales in the lower price ranges.
A strong recent trend has been the continued decline of the average number of days a home spends on the market before it has an accepted contract. As an example, the average Bellingham home sold in 2011 (through October) was on the market 120 days. That has declined to 74 days in 2014. Of course, that is not consistent across all price ranges, as in shown in the table below.
The other thing the table above does not show is how many homes were removed from the market unsold during October…but the table below does.
Do homes priced over $500,000 ever sell in just a few days? Of course. As can be seen above, however, the higher the price, the lower the odds. So what is the take-away from this exercise? For a seller, it means the higher the price range, the more important it is to price your home realistically. But even in the lowest price range, 27% of the homes which left the market in October did not do so because of a sale. Markets change, but the basics of real estate do not: the best homes relative to pricing in their segment market always sell. Location & condition are very important, but at the end of the day, they have to justify the price.
Interest rates are really good…in some cases under 4%. 5% down mortgages are available. Inventory is a bit higher than last year at this time, and pending sales are a bit lower, which is the trend we have been on for the past year. So what does the crystal ball hold? I see steady sales and fairly flat prices in Whatcom County into the new year, with the strongest activity continuing to be in the lower price ranges.
If your neighborhood would like a presentation or a link to your website of up-to-date information on real estate in the neighborhood, we can provide it – just give us a call.
www.JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com also includes a constantly updated list of newly listed properties and a list of properties being offered as short sales & foreclosures (REOs), as well as the entire listing database of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, fully searchable to your specifications.