Muljat: Market returning to more nomalcy

WHATCOM — Home sale prices soared 14.1% higher in Bellingham in the first quarter of 2019, but were flat or lower in other areas of the county.

Also, frigid and snowy weather in February and early March put the freeze on the number of Whatcom home sales, which dropped 9.9% in the first quarter in comparison to the same quarter a year earlier, according to Troy Muljat, owner and president of Bellingham-based Muljat Group Realtors.

Muljat, who prepares the report based on data from the Northwest Washington Multiple Listing Service, said the harsh weather exacerbated volume challenges caused by low inventory, but sales rebounded in March.

The median home sales price in Bellingham surged to $485,000 in the first quarter, but that buyer sentiment wasn’t as strong elsewhere. Ferndale’s median sales price rose 6.8%, but the median was virtually flat in Sudden Valley (up 0.7%) and down 9.4 percent in the Birch Bay/Blaine market.

“Bellingham continues to be a primary market and with low inventory has seen another substantial jump in prices,” Muljat said. “But in other areas of Whatcom County, we are seeing signs of the market slowing down and reverting back to some normalcy.”

Whatcom County’s median sales price, bolstered by the Bellingham market, rose 5% to $383,400. This means half of the homes sold for more than that and half sold for less.

Given below are: the 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 first quarter of 2019, with percentage comparisons to the first quarter of 2018: 

  Whatcom County — Median price, $383,400, up 5.0%; average price, $424,350, up 5.9%; units sold, 512, down 9.9%; DOM, 64, down 8.6%.

  Bellingham — Median price, $485,000, up 14.1%; average price, $538,952, up 10.9%; units sold, 173, down 10.4%; DOM, 42, down 32.3%.

  Birch Bay/Blaine — Median price, $308,000, down 9.4%; average price, $371,329, up 2.4%; units sold, 51, down 30.1%; DOM, 97, up 18.3%.

  Ferndale — Median price, $366,000, up 6.8%; average price, $368,858, up 1.6%; units sold, 98, up 48.5%; DOM, 83, up 22.1%.

  Lynden — Median price, $375,700, up 5.5%; average price, $401,041, down 10.1%; units sold, 48, down 17.2%; DOM, 45, down 35.7%.

  Mount Baker — Median price, $242,500, down 3.0%; average price, $269,891, up 1.4%; units sold, 48, down 9.4%; DOM, 72, down 35.1%. 

  Nooksack Valley — Median price, $328,500, up 16.1%; average price, $323,606, up 2.6%; units sold, 31, up 6.9%; DOM, 55, up 27.9%. 

  Sudden Valley — Median price, $335,000, up 0.7%; average price, $330,828, down 5.6%; units sold, 25, down 37.5%; DOM, 50, down 3.8%.