Market Pauses to Catch Breath

After the very strong upward numbers in June, the market slowed down in July, while still looking very good year over year.  Let’s look at some detail: 

June to July:  Unit sales up 3.3 % in Bellingham, 17.9% in Ferndale; down 8.5% in the county as a whole.  Average sale prices mixed:  Up 2.6% in Ferndale, 5.4% in Sudden Valley 14% in Birch Bay/Blaine; down 4.9% in the county as a whole.  Median sale prices mixed: Up 4.7% in Ferndale & 11.2% in Sudden Valley; down 5.4% in the county as a whole.  

  • Analysis:  July was basically a tread water month, which has been pretty typical over the past several summers.  Some areas were up, some were down, but there was no dramatic shift in the market as a whole.
July 2012 Numbers
Bellingham Sales 93      Overall Sales 195
Bellingham Average  $316,262      Overall Average  $288,272
Bellingham Median  $280,000      Overall Median  $257,000

.July 2011 to July 2012:  Unit sales up 40.9% in Bellingham, 83.3% in Ferndale, 9.1% in Sudden Valley, and 18.2% in the country as a whole.  Average sale price up 10.5% in Ferndale, 23.6% in Birch Bay/Blaine, and 3.9% in the county as a whole.  Median sale price up 15.5% in Ferndale, 20.9% in Birch Bay/Blaine and 2.8% in the county as a whole.

  • Analysis:  The year over year numbers are continuing to be strong, indicating that we are coming off the bottom.  It’s happening in fits and starts, but it is happening.

Year to Date:  2012 cumulative sales numbers are continuing to climb, with every area     except Birch Bay/Blaine ahead of last year’s sales by at least 9.5%.  Overall, Whatcom County sales are up by 13.6% over last year at this time (an additional 136 houses over last year).  The average sale price is down 0.1% from last year at this time for the county overall, with averages for the various areas clustered in that range.  Median sale prices ranged from up 9.4% in Blaine/Birch Bay to down 3.7% in Lynden.  As a whole, the county median price dropped 0.4%.

  • Analysis:   The increase in July 2012 sales consisted primarily in price ranges below $500,000.  This accounts for the average and median sales numbers staying essentially flat or down a bit while total sales rose substantially.  Take a look at the “Changes in July” table below.
Year to Date Numbers
Bellingham Sales 486      Overall Sales 1135
Bellingham Average  $321,768      Overall Average  $277,466
Bellingham Median  $275,000      Overall Median  $249,000

July 2011 Price Ranges in $1000s

Total Sales Volume

Total Units Sold

Average Sales Price

% of Market

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






300 to <500















July 2012 Price Ranges in $1000s

Total Sales Volume

Total Units Sold

Average Sales Price

% of Market

Unit Change

Average Price Change








300 to <500





















So what do I see coming up?  I can’t think of a better way to phrase it than I did last month…”I see homes that are nice and are priced correctly selling quickly, often with multiple offers and at higher prices than they would have generated a year ago.  I see buyers being disappointed because they want to “think about” a great house that sells to someone who could make a quick decision.  I also see sellers overpricing their homes and sitting there, wondering why, if the market is so good, their house doesn’t sell.  Yes, real estate is still all about location…but if you don’t have the condition and the price right, you’ll be in that location long after a house that has it right”.   That is the market we are living in right now, and with the continuing low inventory, it doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.

If you are curious to see how today's number's are comparing to the numbers in the past 2 years for Bellingham and all of Whatcom County click the links below to view our charts and tables:

Whatcom County 2 year real estate trends

Bellingham 2 year real estate trends

Bellingham 1 year residential sales chart

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.