Paul's Bellingham Blog

My thoughts on Bellingham, the Real Estate market, and more

Review of 2013 Whatcom County Real Estate, Predictions for 2014

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2013 ended up being the strongest year for Real Estate in Bellingham and Whatcom County in 6 years (since 2007). What we saw was a slow but steady growth in both homes sales, and rebounding home values. The spring and summer months were very strong, and then flattened out a bit in the fall and winter.

-Over all for Whatcom County, home sales were up over 5%, compared to 2012, and home values were up 3%.

-Average days on market fell from 93 days to 74 days.

-Bellingham posted even stronger numbers with home sales up by over 10%, and average price of closed sales increasing by 6%.

I believe 2014 will be an even stronger year. January has been very busy, and as long as interest rates stay in the mid to low 4’s, we should be looking at accelerated growth in sales, and in home values (home values are usually slower to increase then sales).

I am predicting sales to be up by another 5-10% this year, and that should push values up a little bit (perhaps 2-6% increase in value depending on location and price range in the county) in the under $500,000 market. $500,000 to $750,000 is becoming a strong market in Bellingham, and the $750,000 and up market is improving but still a little bit soft.

For homes priced under $350,000 in Bellingham, and priced under $250,000 in the county, it is officially a HOT market again. Not quite as “hot”, as the 2005-2006 years, but I would argue a better recovery, because values are increasing slowly, allowing for more sustainable home values.

Above is the average dollar per square foot for home sales in Bellingham, closing out the year at $173 a sq. ft on average. You can see it bounces around, but is clearly trending up. Also note the $155 a sq. ft. average for Decemeber of 2012.. This is a good indicator of values appreciating in Bellingham.

If you’d like more statistics and information on your specific neighborhood, you can contact me by clicking here, or 360-920-5901, or paulbalzotti@johnlscott.com.

Interesting Facts about Bellingham Washington Video

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Here is my latest video talking about more interesting facts about Bellingham and Whatcom County

Zero Down Loan Program Coming Back

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It was just announced that the USDA Zero Down loan program is coming back! This program is funded through the Rural Housing Administration, and allows buyer under a certain income limit to buy Zero Down, outside of city limits. In Whatcom County, all areas are included outside of the city limits of Bellingham. A couple of homes that I have listed that would qualify for the USDA program include 2565 Finkbonner Rd in Bellingham for $209,900, and 5144 Marshall Hill Rd in Deming, for $204,000.

This loan program also has no monthly mortgage insurance, so monthly payments can be extremely affordable (especially with today’s rates)!

Since the tax credit expired, there has definitely been a shortage of First Time Home Buyers entering the Real Estate market this summer. This should certainly help bring more first timers back into the market, which can have a trickle up effect on home sales and home prices. For more information, contact me here.

Bellingham’s Marine Park

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On a sunny day in Bellingham, the most popular park by the bay has to be Boulevard Park, by a long shot. That is where my wife and I find ourselves the most often. But just below downtown Fairhaven and the ferry terminal, and huddled between the shipyards of Fairhaven, there is another much less popular public park on the water. I have to admit that although I’ve been aware of it, I had never spent anytime there until this last weekend! It is called Marine Park, and it is equally as beautiful as Boulevard, but really has some perks you don’t get at Boulevard, or many of the other more popular Bellingham parks.

For one, it has a nice long beach (Boulevard has a very small beach area). Also, since it is less popular, it is much more quiet as well.

Marine Park has  a huge covered cabana area for barbecuing and large gatherings, and really stunning views. There is beautiful views of the San Juan Islands, and then back North across the sound towards Bellingham.

The park does lack other amenities. No sports courts or anything like that. But it is a peaceful setting and an ideal place to come down and read a book, or just watch the sunset.