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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Bellingham Home Worth

Learn Home Values Around Lake Whatcom

Do you own a home on Lake Whatcom?

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Lake Whatcom Home Values

Don’t currently live on Lake Whatcom, but curious about learning more about the area?

Click the map to search for homes around Lake Whatcom in Bellingham.

Lake Whatcom Map

Lake Whatcom is a true Bellingham gem! Real Estate here is highly desired for the area’s natural beauty and freshwater recreational delights.

Lake Whatcom runs from the eastern edge of Bellingham in the Silver Beach Neighborhood on through Geneva, Sudden Valley, South Bay and into the foothills. Many lake front communities are located along the lake, including Delesta Park, Strawberry Point and Agate Bay. Each of these desirable neighborhoods offer housing options that appeal to a variety of budgets and real estate needs.

Lake Whatcom also serves as Bellingham’s water reservoir and is protected through watershed limitations and restrictions. Despite stringent protections, motorized watersports such as boating and jet skiing are allowed. The lake is also a great place for canoeing, kayaking, and sailing.

To learn more about Bellingham’s beautiful Lake Whatcom call us today at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com, we are here to help!

 

Buying, Selling, Or Refinancing?

Have you seen the current market rates? They are an important part of deciding if it’s the right time to buy, sell, or refinance. These are the rates as of Thursday, June 8th.

june8

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!

Financial Planning: 4 Reasons to Buy a House Today

Financial Planning: 4 Reasons to Buy a House Today | MyKCM

 

Homeownership will always be a part of the American Dream. There are advantages to owning your own home (educational, health, social) that far transcend any economic impact. However, we want to look at several of the financial advantages of homeownership in today’s post.

1. Buying is Cheaper Than Renting

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The report reveals that:

“Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation…Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1% for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.”

2. Homeownership “Forces” You to Save

According to SavingAdvice.com, homeownership is a great way to save. Their advice is quite simple:

“Homeownership is a “forced” savings account because you own the home, you have no choice – that monthly housing cost has got to be paid no matter what…Homeownership can be an outstanding way to force yourself to be more frugal in the rest of your spending so that you can save and build equity in your home.”

3. Homeownership Offers Several Tax Deductions

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership. Here are three:

  1. Homeowners who itemize deductions may reduce their taxable income by deducting any interest paid on a home mortgage.
  2. Homeowners who itemize deductions may also reduce their taxable income by deducting property taxes they pay on their homes.
  3. Taxpayers who sell assets must generally pay capital gains tax on any profits made on the sale.

4. Experts Expect Home Price Appreciation to Continue

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

Bottom Line

Some are afraid that home values may have already peaked. However, we believe that purchasing a home now will prove to be a sound financial decision for years to come. As Warren Buffet said, “When others are greedy, be fearful. When others are fearful, be greedy.” If you have any questions about the market or buying or selling a home, please contact us at (360) 303-2734 or email us at info@johnsonteamrealestate.com.

15,014 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

15,014 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours? | MyKCM

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all, 15,014 houses sold yesterday, 15,014 will sell today and 15,014 will sell tomorrow.

15,014!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country, according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR)  latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.48 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 15,014 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 3.8-month supply of inventory available for sale, (6-months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price. Call Johnson Team Real Estate today at (360) 303-2734 or email us at info@johnsonteamrealestate.com.

What’s Happening in the Bellingham Real Estate Market?

We are constantly amazed at the intensity of the current market.  Home owners are often selling their homes in a matter of hours, with multiple offers and at prices in excess of the list price.  The flip side is Buyers who have made numerous offers, but always seem to fall a little bit short and are feeling, “What in the heck do I have to do to buy a house?”

Market Snap Shot april 17

It’s clear in looking at the chart, that the disconnect is a shortage of homes relative to the number of active buyers.  You’ll see that in Bellingham in 2017 (as of last week) there are 95 homes available to purchase & 119 pending.  Compare this to the years 2010 to 2016.  During this period, there were plenty of homes (choices) & not that many buyers competing against each other.

So the question for Buyers & Sellers becomes, as we move into Spring & Summer, will more inventory become available as it historically has or will it remain a tight market?

Our Crystal Ball tells us that while there will be more inventory, the inventory will be snapped up quickly by Buyers who are hungry to buy at current prices & interest rates.  The shortage of inventory is compounded in Bellingham, at least, by the unavailability of building lots, by sellers who are unwilling to put their homes on the market without knowing where they are going to move to or by Sellers who are unwilling to give up their current mortgage of 3.35% for a new 30 year fixed @ 4.25%.  If rates continue to increase, the inventory valve will tighten even more.

I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but the net result is inventory grid lock.

If you or your friends have questions about how to successfully navigate through this maze, give us a call. We’d be happy to share our thoughts & expertise with you. Call Johnson Team Real Estate today at (360) 303-2734 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com today!

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | MyKCM

The inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market was recently reported to be at a 3.6-month supply according to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report. Inventory is now 7.1% lower than this time last year, marking the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year drops.

Historically, inventory must reach a 6-month supply for a normal market where home prices appreciate with inflation. Anything less than a 6-month supply is a sellers’ market, where the demand for houses outpaces supply and prices go up.

As you can see from the chart below, the United States has been in a sellers’ market since August 2012, but last month’s numbers reached a new low.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | MyKCM

Recently Trulia revealed that not only is there a shortage of homes on the market in general, but the homes that are available for sale are not meeting the needs of the buyers that are searching.

Homes are generally bucketed into three groups by price range: starter, trade-up, and premium.

Trulia’s market mismatch score measures the search interest of buyers against the category of homes that are available on the market. For example: “if 60% of buyers are searching for starter homes but only 40% of listings are starter homes, [the] market mismatch score for starter homes would be 20.”

The results of their latest analysis are detailed in the chart below.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | MyKCM

Nationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories. Ninety-two of the top 100 metros have a shortage in trade-up inventory.

Premium homebuyers have the best chance of less competition and a surplus of listings in their price range with an 11-point surplus, leading to more of a buyer’s market.

“It leaves Americans who are in the market for a home increasingly chasing too fewer options in lower price ranges, and sellers of premium homes more likely to be left waiting longer for a buyer.”

 Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist doesn’t see an end to this coming any time soon: 

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range.”

Bottom Line

Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this spring, let’s get together to discuss the exact market conditions in your area.

Johnson Team Real Estate is here to help you with all your Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate needs!  Call us today at (360) 303-2734 or email at at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com .

The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health | MyKCM

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home. If you are interested in making your homeownership dreams a reality call Johnson Team Real Estate today at (360) 303-2734 or email us today at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com, we’d be happy to help!

The Great News About Rising Prices for Homeowners

The Great News About Rising Prices for Homeowners | MyKCM

Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. As we mentioned before, in some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers out looking for a home, which has caused prices to rise.

The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s US Economic Outlook, the average American household gained over $11,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.

The map below was created using the same report from CoreLogic and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home from June 2015 to June 2016 (the latest data available).

The Great News About Rising Prices for Homeowners | MyKCM

For those who are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new-found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.

The added equity is helping families put their children through college, invest in starting small businesses, allowing them to pay off their mortgage sooner or move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.

Bottom Line

CoreLogic predicts that home prices will appreciate by another 5% by this time next year. If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options!

If you want to talk about the Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate Market, Johnson Team Real Estate is here! Call us today at (360) 303-2734 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

2016 Whatcom County Real Estate Report

Bellingham Real Estate Market 2016 marked the 5th straight year of real estate sales and price increases in Whatcom County, which we probably all knew, particularly if we bought or sold a house recently.  However, the changes in the Whatcom County market have not been equal in all areas, which may give us a glimpse of how the County will change over time.

 

Let’s start with some basic numbers:

  • While the number of total home sales in Whatcom County increased by 50% over the past 5 years (to 3145 from 2088), the percentage of increase by area varies from a low of 13.6% in Lynden to a high of 106% in the Mt Baker area.

 

  • While the number of homes sold over the past 5 years in every area was up, the percentage of the market held by the areas changed, with Bellingham dropping from 45% to 36% of the market, Lynden dropping from 11% to 8% and other areas picking up their losses.

 

  • Average sale prices throughout the county have increased since 2012, with an average increase county wide of 22%.  The greatest percentage increase was in the Mt Baker area…up almost 52%…and the least percentage increase was in Birch Bay/Blaine…up just 7.5%.  Other areas saw average price increases of 20% to 30%.  Median sale prices were up across the board.

 

  • The homes that sold went faster over the past 5 years…almost twice as fast as in 2012…but there were still homes that didn’t sell.

 

The number of homes for sale in Whatcom County as of December 31st was down about 30% from last year at this time.  Typically, inventory increases when the holidays are over, but we aren’t anticipating the market to loosen up in 2017.

Do you have specific question about the Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate markets? Johnson Team Real Estate is here to answer you questions! Call us today at (360) 303-2734 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.