It’s a lively real estate market despite COVID 

WHATCOM — The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t deter the Whatcom County housing market, particularly in Bellingham, where home sales and prices soared in the third quarter, according to a local real-estate broker.

The median sales price of a Whatcom County home was $450,000 in the third quarter, up 12.5% from the third quarter of 2019, according to Troy Muljat, owner and president of Bellingham-based Muljat Group Realtors. The number of homes sold in the county jumped up 13.2% to 1,020.

Muljat prepared the report based on data from the Northwest Washington Multiple Listing Service.

While impressive, those third-quarter county numbers paled in comparison to the Bellingham housing market alone, Muljat said. Bellingham’s median sales price soared 16.5% in one year, nearly $80,000, to $550,000, and multiple offers on homes listed for more than $1 million aren’t uncommon, he noted. Also, the number of homes sold in the Bellingham market skyrocketed 26% from a year ago.

The inventory of homes and mortgage rates continue to be low and fuel the home market, but buyers also are more comfortable searching for homes and making decisions than they were immediately after the pandemic’s outbreak in March, Muljat said.

“When COVID first hit, we were only allowed to have one client in a listing at a time,” said Kena Greer Brashear, managing broker for Muljat Group Realtors. “Now we are able to have four clients and an agent. This has changed the dynamic for families looking for homes.”

Another factor heating up Whatcom County’s housing market is the migration of buyers northward.

“People are relocating from areas like Seattle, Portland and California,” Greer Brashear said.  “I’ve helped several clients relocate from Seattle because they want to get out of the city.”

Buyers also were active in other county communities. Home sales in Sudden Valley and Lynden were at least 20% higher in the third quarter. 

Listed below, for the county as a whole and by community, are: median sales price, average sales price, number of units sold, and average days on the market (DOM) before a sale, with percentage comparisons to the third quarter of 2019. 

Whatcom County — Median price, $450,000, up 12.5%; average price, $510,717, up 15.1%; units sold, 1,020, up 13.2%; DOM, 37, down 7.5%.

Bellingham — Median price, $550,000, up 16.5%; average price, $642,260, up 17.1%; units sold, 325, up 26.0%; DOM, 28, down 3.5%.

Birch Bay/Blaine — Median price, $390,000, up 11.8%; average price, $462,934, up 10.5%; units sold, 133, down 7.0%; DOM, 48, down 11.1%.

Ferndale — Median price, $442,500, up 7.9%; average price, $459,087, up 4.5%; units sold, 188, up 20.5%; DOM, 47, up 11.9%.

Lynden — Median price, $440,00, up 6.5%; average price, $473,862, up 7.6%; units sold, 89, up 11.3%; DOM, 23, down 32.4%.

Mount Baker — Median price, $331,500, up 5.2%; average price, $368,278, up 19.5%; units sold, 86, up 8.9%; DOM, 57, up 1.8%. 

Nooksack Valley — Median price, $399,500, up 12.5%; average price, $431,495, up 16.9%; units sold, 37, down 34.0%; DOM, 20, down 46.0%. 

Sudden Valley — Median price, $399,950, up 17.6%; average price, $419,230, up 18.8%; units sold, 92, up 28.8%; DOM, 34, up 17.2%.