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Just when I think a trend is developing, things change.  Since the first of the year, sales in Bellingham have been pretty strong.  Then in April, they were down 16.4% from last year.  Prices aren’t doing too badly – the average is down 2.8%, but the median is actually up by 1.8%. 

On the other hand, the rest of the county has been struggling so far this year, but in April most areas didn’t drop as much as Bellingham, and Ferndale prices were actually up by 16% for the average and 18.9% for the median.

April 2010 Price Ranges in $1000s

Total Sales Volume

Total Units Sold

Average Sales Price

% of Market

Changes in April Year to Year Distribution of Residential Sales in Bellingham

 

<300

$10,588,650

44

$240,651

60.3%

300 to <500

$9,218,551

25

$368,742

34.2%

>500

$2,455,500

4

$613,875

5.5%

>750

$0

0

$0

0.0%

 

 

 

 

 

April 2011 Price Ranges in $1000s

Total Sales Volume

Total Units Sold

Average Sales Price

% of Market

Unit Change

Average Price Change

 

<300

$8,565,650

37

$231,504

60.7%

-15.9%

-3.8%

300 to <500

$7,868,897

21

$374,709

34.4%

-16.0%

1.6%

>500

$1,642,500

3

$547,500

4.9%

-25.0%

-10.8%

>750

$0

0

$0

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

As the table above shows, the distribution of Bellingham sales in April of this year was very similar to 2010, although there were 12 fewer sales. 

In looking at the chart below, the effect of last year’s homebuyer tax credits is obvious.  In the typical real estate sales curve, sales peak in May & June.  Last year, they peaked in May and gradually declined from there.  This year, January and February were equivalent to August and September of 2010.  And while March and April were somewhat lower, they were definitely stronger than 2008.  Most of the sales resulting from the tax credits would have closed by the end of May last year.  If our market this year follows the usual pattern, we should see much stronger demand in the summer than we did last year.  With the lower inventory we have had, that could lead to a strong selling environment within the next 2 months.

Anecdotally speaking, multiple offers are being seen much more frequently.  Investors seem to be out in force for properties under $250,000, and buyers at all levels are watching the market closely and moving quickly when they see something good.  Appraisals can be tough, particularly if the appraiser is not familiar with the area, because with fewer sales, there are fewer comparables.
Advice to Buyers:  Educate yourself.  Get to know the market in which you want to buy.  Both you and your agent should be tracking properties daily.  Get yourself preapproved with a local lender.  Be prepared to move quickly if you find the property you really want.

Advice to Sellers:  Make your property one that a buyer will really want.  It needs to sparkle.  The yard should be delightful.  Minimally, it needs to be clean and free of clutter.  And above all, it needs to be priced correctly.  The longer you are on the market, the lower the sale price will be

If your neighborhood would like a presentation or a link to your website of up-to-date information on real estate in the neighborhood, we can provide it – just give us a call.

            www.JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com also includes a constantly updated list of newly listed properties and a list of properties being offered as short sales & foreclosures (REOs), as well as the entire listing database of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, fully searchable to your specifications.