Blaine and Birch Bay claim third largest share of Whatcom County’s housing market

Statistics released in early October reveal that Blaine and Birch Bay were responsible for 13 percent of all Whatcom County home sales in the first three quarters of this year.

According to the report compiled by Lylene Johnson, who has tracked Whatcom County sales data for more than a decade, Bellingham held a 37 percent share in the market for the last three quarters of 2016. Ferndale accounted for 16 percent while Blaine and Birch Bay came in a close third with 13 percent of county sales in the same period.

“Ferndale is the primary recipient of this shift with market share rising from 12 percent to 16 percent this year,” Johnson said. “The rest is spread throughout the county.”

Johnson attributes price and inventory as the primary cause of the shifts.

In Blaine and Birch Bay, the median price of a home went up 14 percent to $289,000 in the third quarter of 2016, as compared to the same period in 2015. Homes were on the market for about 81 days in the third quarter of 2016, compared to an estimated 96 in 2015, according to the report.

Compare that to the county as a whole, which has a median home price of $316,400 and an average 54 days on the market in the third quarter. The only locations that experienced a dip in median home prices were Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley, according to the report.

“It’s a good time to be a seller,” said Hugh Brawford, an agent with more than 27 years’ of experience working at John L. Scott Real Estate. “It’s just a very active market.”

Homes for sale in north Whatcom County are largely affected by the Canadian dollar, he said, which as of October 26 had dropped to 75 cents per 1 U.S. dollar. It’s causing homeowners to sell, Brawford said. Semiahmoo especially has had steady growth in the last 15 months, he said.

In the second quarter of 2016, Blaine and Birch Bay experienced an uptick in sales in comparison to the year prior. According to a previous report released by  Johnson, Blaine and Birch Bay sold about 25 more homes in the second quarter of 2016 than during the same period in 2015.

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