Bellingham Real Estate Market Update & Happenings!

Market Snap Shot Jan 18

As we look into our real estate crystal ball, the question always is “so where have we been & where are we going?”

The “where have we been part” is pretty simple as it’s already logged into the history books. Closed Bellingham residential sales for 2017 were 1042 homes as opposed to 1145 homes in 2016. The median sales price for a home in Bellingham in 2016 was $363,465 as opposed to $393,249 in 2017. We are started the year off with approximately 111 active listings with an additional 79 homes pending as opposed to 193 active listings a year ago with, at that time, 86 pending listings.

So with that in the rear view mirror, what does the road ahead look like & what are some of the chuck holes in the way that could throw a monkey wrench in things?

First, we have a new Tax Code.  As it was initially stated, it had all of the real estate pundits up in arms, but as it went through the Congressional “Grinder” it was trimmed down to the point where it may not have the negative impact people initially felt.  Now in the interest of full disclosure, even though I graduated fairly high in my class at the U of W (sorry Cougar fans), accounting was not necessarily my bailiwick.  Even if it was, I’d ask you to consult with your personal accountant or financial planner to see how it impacts you personally.

So “Where are we headed in 2018”? 

A local lender posts a current 30 year fixed rate of 4.125%.  All indications are that rates will increase in 2018 with Freddie Mac projections to 4.6 in the 4th quarter of 2018.

Population data indicates that between 2010 and 2016, Whatcom County has seen a significant increase of people in their 60s and 70s. During the same time there’s been a decrease in the number of people in their 20s and 40s

A recent article in the Bellingham Herald quoted Zillow Economists as predicting a 3.1% increase in Bellingham home prices over the next 12 months, saying that the hottest neighborhoods ie: Lettered Streets, will have a 12 month increase of 4%, the York District an increase of 3.8% & the Columbia District of 3.7%.

As of today’s date, there are 87 residential homes pending in Bellingham.  Of this number, 34 pended within 5 days or less of the list date.  While we won’t know until the homes close, my guess is that with the quick pending dates, the probability is that the homes sold in excess of their list prices.  In the past 30 days, 69 residential homes sold.  Of that number, 27 sold either at or greater than their list price.

With that ground work, from what I hear on the streets, in my open houses & see statistically, I think, in Bellingham,

  • Inventory will remain at historically low levels.

 

  • While rising interest rates will make it more difficult for entry level buyers to find homes, it will have less or no effect on an older population that appears to be moving into the area & many times buying without the need of a home loan.

 

  • As climate change affects other parts of the US, our weather & lifestyle in the Pacific North West will be more appealing to others, causing them to move in increasing numbers.

 

  • Demand for Bellingham real estate will continue to outstrip supply resulting in increased prices. Quite frankly, I think the increases we experience will outstrip those projected by Zillow’s forecasters

In a nut shell, prepare for more of the same from our fast & furious real estate market.

If you have questions about the market in general or about your property specifically, Mike, Fawn & I would be happy to help you any way that we can.

 

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