August residential real estate sales managed to stay up a bit from August 2006 in Bellingham, so are still showing an increase of 7.2% over the first 8 months. It was Ferndale & Sudden Valley’s turn to post higher numbers this month, while Birch Bay/Blaine and Lynden were unable to maintain their July momentum and dropped 45% and 13% respectively from their August 2006 sales numbers. As a result, Whatcom County as a whole saw another decline of 2.4% in the total number of units sold since the beginning of 2007.

Average sold prices are still increasing for the most part, up an average of 2.6% for the county as a whole since last year. Remember, the average home in Whatcom County has not increased in price over the past year. It is simply that more expensive homes are selling, and that raises the average price of a sale. Inventory levels in Bellingham stopped rising this month, holding close to last year’s numbers, but the number of pending sales has dropped by 21% from this time last year. We have seen a definite impact on pending sales as the financial markets have become more turbulent.

Average days on market for homes sold Jan 1 through August 31 are still up substantially over those sold last year, but the average has stayed pretty stable, at around 95 days) over the past 6 months.

By now we have all heard about the demise of the sub-prime lending market, but now we are hearing about issues at the other end – the “jumbo” loans. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the government-backed giants that buy loans from banks, will not buy a loan for more than $417,000 (a “jumbo” loan). Consequently, those loans must either be held by the bank making the loan or sold to a private investor. With private investors less enamored of mortgage backed securities, that market has also become tighter.

In looking at the standard statistics in the market, it is easy to focus on the negatives and lose track of the big picture. So…let’s look at another number for a bit of perspective. In Bellingham, 30% of all homes listed for sale find a buyer in the first 30 days, and those homes typically sell for nearly 99% of original list price. If you are selling, don’t give it away, but price it right so you can get on with your life.

If you would like information about any specific areas, feel free to call us at (360) 527-8766 or email Lylene and we will get right back to you.