Whatcom County Real Estate Research Report

Volume 28, 2007

The Whatcom County Real Estate Research Report is published by the Whatcom County Real Estate Research Committee, a nonprofit community group that generates, compiles and distributes factual information about the Whatcom County real estate market. Individuals, co-partnerships, associations, governmental bodies, and corporations of good standing and reputation are invited to become members.

The Whatcom County Real Estate Research Report is the result of the voluntary efforts of the committee members. Members of the committee receive no compensation for their work. Subscription revenues are used to defray the cost of collecting data, printing and distributing the Report. Single issues of the Report can be purchased for $45 from Mr. David Goddard at Whatcom Land Title (360-676-8484).

Executive Summary

Data in the report indicate that 2005 was yet another record-setting year for Whatcom county real estate sales activity. The number of single-family homes sold fell 3 percent below the 2004 level, but the dollar volume of single-family sales rose 18 percent above the 2004 level. The number of condominiums sold rose 18 percent in 2005, setting a record high for the fourth year in a row.

For single-family homes, the rate of price appreciation exceeded 20 percent for the second straight year, the median price increasing by 22.4 percent in 2005, as compared with 22.0 in 2004. For the year 2005, the median price of all homes sold in Whatcom County was $259,000 while the median price of homes sold in the Bellingham area was $269,000. This compares with a statewide median home price of $260,900. For an analysis of Whatcom County affordability, please see the Special Section of the Report prepared by Glenn Crellin at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.

Permit activity was generally higher in 2005, with the exception of single-family permit in Bellingham, which fell from 306 to 182. The number of multi-family units in Bellingham rose from 563 to 722. Outside of Bellingham, permit activity rose 37 percent in Ferndale and increased by 45 percent in unincorporated Whatcom county.

Plat activity in Bellingham was mixed, short-plat activity rising by 89 percent, and long plat activity falling by 46 percent in 2005. In unincorporated Whatcom county, plat activity was up substantially; short-plat activity rose 49 percent, and long-plat activity increased fivefold.

The editor wishes to thank all those who volunteered their time to make this report possible, in particular the individuals and organizations listed on page vi and the Committee officers and subcommittee chairpersons. A special mention and thanks to David Goddard, who is stepping down after many years of service as Secretary and Treasurer of the Whatcom County Real Estate Research Committee.


Whatcom County Real Estate Research Committee

Bill Henshaw
Windermere Real Estate

Julia L. Hansen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
College of Business and Economics
Western Washington University

Secretary and Treasurer
Adeline Brown
Chicago Title Insurance Co.

William T. Follis

Subcommittee Chairpersons

Permit Activity
Ben Glassett
City of Bellingham

Multifamily Activity
Doug Wight
Ebright Wight

Plat Activity
Kathy Bell
City of Bellingham

Commercial Activity
Jeff Hopwood
Windermere Real Estate

Mortgage Activity
Renee Nichols
Horizon Bank

Housing Stock
Ben Glassett
City of Bellingham

Single-family Activity
Julia Hansen
Western Washington University

Condominium Activity
David Goddard
Whatcom Land Title



Editor’s Introduction
Membership Information and Application
2005 Membership List
Real Estate Research Reports
Census Tract Divisions of Whatcom County
Whatcom County Census Tracts
Bellingham Area Census Tracts
Broad Divisions of Whatcom County
Whatcom County Real Estate Sales: 2005 Summary
Annual Sales by Area and Type of Property, 2005 & 2004
Monthly Sales by Area and Type of Property, Jan. 2005 - Mar. 2006

A. Permit and Plat Activity

B. Mortgage Activity

C. Single-Family Residential Sales Activity


D. Condominium Activity

E. Residential Rental Property

F. Commercial Activity

G. Housing Stock (Bellingham)

H. Construction Costs

I. Business and Economic Indicators

J. Additional Real Estate Information