Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate Market Update

A Slower Market

A recent Time Magazine article made note of the general slow down in the US real estate market, and Whatcom County is helping to set that trend.

  • Third quarter and year to date sales in Whatcom County approximated last year.
  • Sales numbers dropped from August to September, which is normal, and were very close for September 2013 & September 2014.
  • Average and Median sale prices for the most part were lower in September 2014 than in September 2013.
  • Days on market before a sale fluctuated up and down depending on the area, but averaged pretty close to last year over all.

That’s the summary, but Whatcom County covers a lot of areas, so let’s look at some details for Septembers in 2012, 2013 & 2014.  I don’t typically dump the raw data on you, but thought you might find some of the area changes interesting

Sept 2012 Sept 2013 % Change Year-to-Year Sept 2014 % Change Year-to-Year
860 Bellingham
Units Sold 88 100 11.4% 97 -2.0%
Avg List $327,886 $403,855 24.1% $338,302 -16.9%
Avg Sold $316,397 $395,326 25.9% $330,162 -17.1%
Median Sold $263,950 $322,500 24.7% $289,000 -12.2%
CDOM 79 69 -12.7% 59 -14.5%
% of List 96% 98% 98%
870 Ferndale
Units 21 39 85.7% 30 -23.1%
Avg List $280,317 $282,869 0.9% $275,479 -2.6%
Avg Sold $271,081 $275,718 1.7% $265,093 -3.9%
Median Sold $255,000 $269,000 5.5% $270,000 0.4%
CDOM 73 140 91.8% 126 -10.0%
% of List 97% 97% 96%
850 Sudden Valley
Units 13 8 -38.5% 18 125.0%
Avg List $213,881 $229,769 7.4% $237,661 3.4%
Avg Sold $209,242 $216,800 3.6% $232,572 7.3%
Median Sold $210,000 $201,000 -4.3% $229,750 14.3%
CDOM 78 125 60.3% 86 -31.2%
% of List 98% 94% 98%
880 Birch Bay/Blaine
Units 15 24 60.0% 31 29.2%
Avg List $299,158 $288,400 -3.6% $382,646 32.7%
Avg Sold $284,960 $275,388 -3.4% $360,919 31.1%
Median Sold $221,000 $190,750 -13.7% $295,000 54.7%
CDOM 217 116 -46.5% 159 37.1%
% of List 95% 95% 94%
885 Lynden
Units 24 19 -20.8% 16 -15.8%
Avg List $269,391 $275,053 2.1% $258,691 -5.9%
Avg Sold $263,546 $268,361 1.8% $254,884 -5.0%
Median Sold $257,000 $249,900 -2.8% $253,375 1.4%
CDOM 95 59 -37.9% 76 28.8%
% of List 98% 98% 99%
890 Nooksack Valley
Units 10 12 20.0% 12 0.0%
Avg List $230,410 $235,304 2.1% $241,571 2.7%
Avg Sold $207,290 $228,479 10.2% $371,250 62.5%
Median Sold $157,450 $207,500 31.8% $255,000 22.9%
CDOM 84 93 10.7% 121 30.1%
% of List 90% 97% 154%
895 Mt Baker
Units 10 6 -40.0% 19 216.7%
Avg List $99,750 $199,483 100.0% $193,537 -3.0%
Avg Sold $93,490 $194,967 108.5% $186,501 -4.3%
Median Sold $61,700 $174,150 182.3% $147,000 -15.6%
CDOM 159 66 -58.5% 115 74.2%
% of List 94% 98% 96%
Total Whatcom County
Units 182 212 15.4% 225 7.1%
Avg List $285,744 $334,503 17.3% $304,086 -9.3%
Avg Sold $275,168 $326,385 18.7% $301,659 -7.6%
Median Sold $250,000 $273,950 50.0% $265,000 -29.3%
CDOM 99 92 -7.1% 95 3.3%
% of List 96% 98% 99%

Some of the things which jumped out at me were as follow:

• Note the decline in prices and number of sales in Bellingham, Ferndale & Lynden, but how the number of units sold in the county as a whole actually increased because of stronger sales in Sudden Valley & Mt Baker.
• That didn’t help to keep the overall prices up, but we didn’t lose all the gains we made between 2012 & 2013.
• Days on the market were down in Bellingham, but some of the other areas saw listings sell which had been on the market a while.
• The sale price to list price ratios have remained pretty stable…sale prices may have been down, but those properties priced properly sell and those which are too high don’t, so these ratios stay pretty stable.

Third quarter and year to date comparisons to the past 2 years don’t show the same drops; gains in the earlier part of the year have been strong enough to balance the current flatter market.

So we know the market has slowed down, not only in number of sales but also in prices.  As the table below shows, while there has been some softening of prices within each market segment, the biggest change was in the number of sales below $300,000 relative to the number sold from $300,000 to $500,000.  There was also a decline in the number of homes sold above $500,000.  These shifts could account for the average and median price declines in the overall Bellingham market.

September 2013 Price Ranges in $1000’s Total 2013  September       $ Sales Total Units Sold Average Sales Price % of Market Changes in  September

Year to Year Distribution

of Residential Sales

in Bellingham

<300 $10,173,760 43 $236,599 43.0%
300 to <500 $15,926,121 41 $388,442 41.0%
>500 $5,342,700 9 $593,633 9.0%
>750 $8,090,000 7 $1,155,714 7.0%
September 2014 Price Ranges in $1000’s Total 2014  September       $ Sales Total Units Sold Average Sales Price % of Market Unit Change Average Price Change
<300 $12,300,525 53 $232,085 54.6% 23.3% -1.9%
300 to <500 $12,339,000 33 $373,909 34.0% -19.5% -3.7%
>500 $3,982,000 7 $568,857 7.2% -22.2% -4.2%
>750 $3,336,000 4 $834,000 4.1% -42.9% -27.8%

The other half of the market equation is inventory. The number of homes available for sale in Bellingham has remained slightly higher than the prior year for the past 14 months, while currently pending sales have been down from the prior year for the past 12 months. These are indicators that our market will remain stable at best, and could slide a bit.

If one wants to sell a property, the basics are just as important as ever: condition, location and pricing must be the best available, because buyers do have options.

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 at 1-888-713-3056, we’d be happy to help!

Comments

  1. Fawn Morgan says:

    Hi Nadine! Thank you for your comment. Lylene Johnson of The Johnson Team will be emailing your directly. Enjoy your day.

  2. Nadine Denis says:

    I am from British Columbia and I am starting as a real estate investor with the intention of buying and reselling properties. I am considering purchasing property in your area and I need a better idea of the current market conditions when selling. I need an agent who has the knowledge and expertise to provide the information that will help me make the best decisions.
    Can you please tell me if you work with first time home buyers? real estate investors? contractors?…
    Can you tell me about the current market, the type of property that is selling right now and the areas that do better than others?
    I will be in the Bellingham area on November 7th. Is there a possibility to meet with you on that day?

    Thank you for your time,

    Nadine Denis