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I’m David Rehm with HoA.com, If you’ve heard anything about real estate in the last few years, you’ve probably know that prices are going up.  Let’s take look at what that meant for Whatcom County in 2016.

For all homes residing on at least one acre, the median sales price increased 12% from 366K to 410k.

Now I’ll be talking about median and average so remember that a Median is simply the midpoint figure in a data set, while the average (or mean) is the sum of the figures divided by the quantity.

In a ten year picture, you can see the boom and bust of an economy with a previous high of 401k in 2007, a low of 312K in 2009, and a climb to a new high of 410k.

Compared to homes on less than an acre, our median sales price is currently 103k higher.  In 2015 it was 82K and over the last decade the difference has ranged from 70K to 118k.  This is Grey-line is where all Whatcom county properties average out together.

If we narrow our focus to the most common acreage parcel, A stick built homes on a 4-10 acres, our median sale price increased 6.7%, from 399K to 427K

There was a total of 170 sales in Whatcom County which is the highest volume since the Multiple Listing Service has taken records.

59 properties sold with a Bellingham address at a median price of 441K and an average of 507k.

Ferndale & Custer had 53 sales with a median price of 425K and average of 435k.

Outside of these two regions, the volume of sales is too little to pull significant meaning from the price

But Blaine/Birch Bay had 18 sales, Lynden 8, Everson/Nooksack 10, & Deming 9.

Let’s shift gears and look at an interesting trend on Manufactured homes on acreage. The last 3 years have seen increases of 12%, 13%, and 8%.  In fact, looking at the price per square foot, On Average, Buyers payed a higher price per square foot for manufactured homes than their stick built counterparts.  Now on average Stick built homes are larger and therefore sell at a higher price overall, but we’ve never seen manufactured homes sell with a higher price per square foot than stick built. That trend will correct itself, so if you have a manufactured home and you are thinking about selling, do yourself a favor, take advantage of a favorable market and sell now.
So why is that the trend anyway? In my opinion, part of the reason for the anomaly is that inventory is at a record low and the squeeze is on lower end homes.  I see the cause as primarily a demographic issue. Millennials don’t have great jobs and they have less children, so they are not buying large upper end homes.  Baby boomers, are selling homes that are too big for their needs since their children have moved out and are now competing for the same size home as millennials.
And If you were not aware, 70M baby boomers and 80M millennials make up almost ½ our country’s population.   That’s a lot of pressure on smaller sized homes.

Look at our inventory.  In the real estate world, our primary metric is “Months of Inventory.” Months of Inventory is determined by dividing the number of active homes in a market by the number of pending home sales.

So if there are 400 active homes on the market and 100 pending sales, there would be 4 “months of inventory.”  Brokers define a balanced market as 4-6 months of inventory. Greater than 6 months is referred to as a buyer’s market, while less than 4 months is referred to as a seller’s market.

In 2016 the city of Seattle averaged less than 1 month of inventory! Bellingham is down to 2 months while homes on acreage in Whatcom County averaged 5-1/2 months.  This is what the last 10 years looks like.  Always a greater inventory for homes on acreage but it’s only 1/2 the supply of 2012 and less than a 1/3rd the supply of the three years prior.

in summary, Prices are still on the rise because inventory is low.  I would expect this trend to continue, primarily due to the demographics.

Now, all homes on acreage are unique and there are a lot of factors that go into determining the value of an individual property. So if you any questions or would like to know more about what I’ve presented I’ll be happy to sit down with you and give a reliable estimate for what your home is worth in today’s market.

I hope you found this to be informative.