Paul's Bellingham Blog

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

3 Ways to Use John L Scott’s New Search By School Tool

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I’m excited about John L Scott’s new tool that allows you to search by school, which works for Bellingham & throughout Whatcom County really accurately! Even if your not totally tied to a school with young children, it can be an excellent way to get hyper local insights into your specific neighborhood(by searching by elementary school).  There is only a handful of other websites offering this way to search, but none of them offer a couple of additional features that you won’t find elsewhere that make John L Scott’s website a little more useful. These extra tools include text alerts, and monthly neighborhood insight reports. Here is 3 ways these tools can be of use to you. 

#1 If your looking for a home or condo within a certain school district or specific school (being obvious here!). Simply go to the John L Scott website.  Then type in the school (elementary, middle school or high school) and start your search. Click on “criteria” and remove condos and vacant land (if that’s not part of your search). Then click on “save”, then register to receive immediate, daily, or weekly updates of new listings. You can also setup text alerts from the save section as well. 

#2 Selling your home in near future? Track sales in your elementary, middle school or high school neighborhood, and get insights into local market trend in your neighborhood. You start on the John L Scott website. Type in your school into the search, then click on “active’s, “pendings” AND “solds”. You can also setup a price range (say your home is worth $400k, search $300k to $500k) under “criteria”, and include or not include land and condos, and then click “save”. Now you can setup daily or weekly alerts of new listings and the latest solds in your price range. And then also click the tab “Get Neighborhood insights” to get monthly updates on home value and sales trends in your neighborhood.

#3 Your not moving any time soon, but still like to see what’s selling in your neighborhood and track how the market is doing. Setup a search by your local high school, middle school, or elementary school (depending on how big of a radius around your home you want to track). Click on “Criteria” to the left, if you want to limit the tracking to homes or condos. Then click on “actives, pendings, solds”, then click “save” and then get daily or weekly updates, plus get monthly market updates (like you see above). You can also change tab to NOT receive new listing alerts…and just check tab for the neighborhood insight reports only if you prefer.

Don’t feel like figuring this out for yourself? I’m happy to set you up on the site, exactly how you’d like (and on the MLS for that matter). No strings attached! Just click on here to contact me and let me know what kind of updates you want and how often you want the updates (and if you want text alerts) and I’ll get you set up. 

Housing Market Website Predicts 10% Appreciation for Bellingham in 2019

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Housing market website Veros has Bellingham ranked #4 in the country for housing appreciation projections for 2019. 4 cities in Western Washington make up the top 10, with Bellingham projected the highest in our state.

Despite the fact that Seattle has seen some slowdown in appreciation due to a spike of inventory…the numbers in Bellingham do look very strong going into the winter months. The supply is still low, and construction is still not meeting the growing demand. So despite many projecting a slow down with rising interest rates, I think 10% appreciation in the next 12 months still looks probable.

See chart below for months of inventory in Bellingham. Under 3 months is considered a “hot” market, and Bellingham is still at a 1.8 month supply through September! You can see this is actually lower than this time last year. 

I still expect a rise in inventory next year…and flat housing prices over the winter months. I also expect slow downs in some more rural areas of Whatcom County. And this should all help buyers who have been struggling to get in to a home. But this new projection from Veros– along with the local numbers I see, all point to another strong year in 2019 for Bellingham. 

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

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.

The space between..

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1“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.”

This is from Stephen Covey’s book The 8th Habit, which is the follow up to “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I am re-reading it right now, and getting much more out of it the second time around.

In the 8th habit he talks a lot about that space. When something bad happens to you, you have this space where you can decide how to respond to it, or whether to respond to it all. The more you exercise the use of this space, the more this space grows. The more this space grows, the more control you have over your life.

I know that whatever happens in my life, it is because I chose it.  I make a conscious decision to be happy and make the best of everything that happens to me.  This empowers me to have 100% freedom over my present happiness and my future.

I can be negative as well.  But everyday I choose to be happy, and try to work on that space in between the stimulus and my response. “The 8th Habit” teaches you about this, and much, much more.  It is an excellent book, and must-read!