Bellingham Real Estate Market 2020 Synopsis
To say the Bellingham real estate market has been hot would be an understatement. With the arrival of COVID-19, came a shift in the housing market that no one could have predicted. After months at home, many people were looking to get out of large metropolitan areas for smaller towns where their budget could buy them a larger home or yard, and provide them with better access to nature. Also, in response to COVID, the Federal Reserve adjusted the prime to stimulate the economy, and banks, in turn, reduced mortgage interest rates. This reduced cost of borrowing money has encouraged both locals and buyers from afar to consider a move as well.
According to Redfin, there has been a 27.6% increase in home sales compared to this time last year. 1 Yet, although many people are trying to buy a home in Bellingham, the inventory has been very low. In fact, Bellingham has a Redfin Compete Score of 87 out of 100, which signifies the local market is very competitive. In fact, over 35% of homes sold over their list price in 2020, with most homes going pending within 7 days and many with multiple offers. This supply and demand issue is driving up prices.
MARKET ENTRY POINT
The market has been especially competitive in the starter home price points. However, what is considered a starter home in Bellingham has increased in cost as well. The average sale price of a home in Bellingham was $474K in August 2020, which is an increase of 10.4% since last year. When you analyze those numbers further, that is an average cost per square foot of $281.
While $474,000 may buy you a sprawling home in some areas of the US, in Bellingham your money will not stretch very far unless you consider a home out of the city limits. Based on these averages, that $474,000 sales price will buy you a 1686 square foot home in some areas of Bellingham. So people who want to stay near Bellingham while also moving up in amenities or size are likely to have the best value for their dollar by broadening the search area. Hence, nearby communities like Sudden Valley, Ferndale, Bow, and Lynden are also experiencing a hot market.
The other hot housing trend in Bellingham is view properties. Discerning out-of-state buyers are paying cash for some of Bellingham’s priciest homes on Bellingham’s Southside neighborhoods (South Hill, Edgemoor, Chuckanut, Parkhurst, and Samish Hill) and along the banks of Lake Samish and Lake Whatcom. In addition to view properties, discerning buyers are also looking for homes with dedicated office space and large, well appointed outdoor areas.
It is hard to know how long this influx of out-of-area buyers will continue, as well as the increased demand from local residents looking for a change in amenities. However, while the demand is high and the supply is low, Bellingham is experiencing a very competitive real estate market.
The team at Julian & Company have helped each of our sellers successfully close on their home, and we have helped many local and out of area buyers rise to the top in a sea of multiple offer deals. We’d love to connect with you and discuss how we can help you too if you are interested in buying or selling.
Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD
1. Redfin. Bellingham Housing Market. https://www.redfin.com/city/1411/WA/Bellingham/housing-market. Accessed September 10, 2020.