Bellingham Real Estate Market Report

Market Snap Shot

Brokers & owners of some larger Seattle brokerages are using the terms “Typical Summer Slowdown”, “Some Cooling Off in the Luxury Market”, “Prices may be Plateauing”, “Pace of Sales is Slowing & the number of multiple offers is moderating”.

Now it’s true that what happens in Seattle usually filters down to us in Whatcom County, but what I am seeing & hearing on the ground here in Bellingham is that our market is still on steroids.  The reason for that is pretty clear. If you look at the chart above, you’ll see a picture of historically low inventory.  Added to this, are

  • Low interest rates (as of 7.7.2017, Peoples Bank is quoting a 5% down 30 year fixed rate at 3.875%)
  • While there clearly is Buyer fatigue (buyers who have written multi offers only to be beaten out by another stronger offer & are getting worn out & discouraged), there is still strong demand on the buying side. In looking at pending Bellingham residential sales today, there are a total of 147 homes that are pending.  Of these pending sales, 68 pended within the 1st 7 days of the listing.
  • The more telling thing that the above figures do not show is Buyer intensity. As of today’s date (7.28.2017) if you dig a bit deeper into the “Sold Market”, you see that in Bellingham residential sales there were 115 homes that sold in the past 30 days. Of these sales, 65 of the 115 pended in the 1st 7 days (56%).  Of the 115 that closed, 59 homes sold in excess of the list price.

So what will it take to change this dynamic?

  • A significant uptick in interest rates would certainly slow thing down.
  • A significant increase in inventory would lead to more supply / choices. As I mentioned in our last newsletter, the availability of buildable land in Bellingham is extremely limited.  With a few exceptions, most new homes are being built north of town in the Cordata area.  This certainly is not enough to have a major impact on the overall market.
  • New inventory could be made available by current sellers either scaling up or scaling down – the problem is, of course, where do they move.

So if you are a buyer, I would strongly recommend that you have your financing locked in.  Pre approval no longer passes muster.  You need to approach a seller with a pre underwritten loan & even then you may be up against a competitor who has cash & does not need a loan.  Most importantly, a buyer needs to act DECISIVELY, must keep POSITIVE in a difficult environment & not lose sight of their GOAL.

If you are a seller, you need to realize that even in this market, there are homes that do not sell.  A home needs to be properly priced, well presented to the market & in condition which is acceptable to the market.

If you have questions or if your friends & family have questions about the market in general or about their home or needs specifically, we would be happy to meet with you.  Collectively, we (The Johnson Team) has in excess of 100 years of real estate experience in Bellingham & Whatcom County.  While we certainly don’t claim to know it all, we do claim to care enough about you & your friends & family to give you the best advice possible to enable you to make the best decisions possible.

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