Prices rose 19-20% from 2020 in first quarter of 2021 alone

  WHATCOM — The housing market ignored winter’s cold weather and turned steaming hot in the first quarter of 2021. In comparison to a year earlier, the median sales price of a Whatcom County home rose 19.1% to $500,000 and Bellingham’s median price soared 20.3% to $607,500.

  The higher prices in Bellingham are making more people look elsewhere in the county, according to Troy Muljat, owner and president of Bellingham-based Muljat Group Realtors. Muljat prepares a report based on data from the Northwest Washington Multiple Listing Service.

  Muljat noted that the number of homes sold in Bellingham in the first quarter of this year fell 13.3% to 144, but the countywide number (including Bellingham) jumped 9.2% to 569. The hottest markets by number of sales were Ferndale (up 58.9%), Mount Baker (up 57.8%) and Nooksack Valley (up 17.9%).

  “We are feeling the consequences of the lack of inventory, historically low interest rates and people in the Northwest wanting to move to areas like Bellingham,” Muljat said. “It’s a perfect storm.”

  Other signs of Whatcom County’s frenzied market are that homes on average are selling for more than their listing price and they’re selling much quicker.

  During a decade of a rebounding housing market, Bellingham homes typically sold for about 98% of their listing price. In this year’s first quarter, the average Bellingham home sold for nearly 104% of its listing price, a result of multiple offers being submitted for many homes, according to Muljat.

  “These homes are selling quickly, too,” he said. “The countywide time for a house on the market in the first quarter plunged 42% countywide and 50% in Bellingham.”

  Listed below, with percentage comparisons to first quarter 2020, are: median sales price, average sales price, number of units sold and average days on the market (DOM) before a sale for the county overall and individual communities for the 2021 first quarter:  


Whatcom County — Median price, $500,000, up 19.1%; average price, $542,585, up 20.3%; units sold, 569, up 9.2%; DOM, 34, down 42.4%.

Bellingham ­— Median price, $607,500, up 20.3%; average price, $703,792, up 23.6%; units sold, 144, down 13.3%; DOM, 26, down 50.0%.

Birch Bay/Blaine — Median price, $460,000, up 22.7%; average price, $534,270, up 33%; units sold, 67, down 24.7%; DOM, 31, down 52.3%.

Ferndale — Median price, $508,950, up 7.7%; average price, $506,142, up 9.9%; units sold, 116, 58.9%; DOM, 26, down 54.4%.

Lynden — Median price, $520,500, up 26.2%; average price, $541,486, up 27.2%; units sold, 52, up 8.3; DOM, 26, down 50%.

Mount Baker — Median price, $330,000, up 18.3%; average price, $353,626, up 48.2%; units sold, 71, up 57.8%; DOM, 56, down 41.1%. 

Nooksack Valley — Median price, $415,000, up 18.3%; average price, $439,255, up 17.3%; units sold, 33, up 17.9%; DOM, 16, 71.4%.

Sudden Valley — Median price, $472,000, up 32.1%; average price, $520,321, up 35.6%; units sold, 36, up 5.9%; DOM, 30, down 30.2%.