Home sale prices increase in Blaine

Published on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Blaine is one of the few places in Whatcom County where average home sale prices increased from 2010 to 2011, but the amount of high-price homes within city limits most likely skewed these numbers.

While home sale prices are up, home asking prices have slipped 9 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to real estate numbers complied by the Bellingham-based Foster Group Realtors. The 7 percent increase in sale prices from 2010 to 2011 is most likely due to a handful of high-priced homes in the Semiahmoo area being sold last year, Foster Group Realtor Kathy Auerbach said.

Auerbach said the asking prices decline is the more significant figure, one that is also evident in real estate numbers across Whatcom County.

From 2008 to 2011, asking prices countywide for single-family homes and condominiums slipped between 15 and 22 percent while sale prices declined between 13 and 19 percent.

Of all the 2011 home sales in Blaine, 37 percent were bank-owned or distressed properties, which means the asking price is lower than the amount due on the mortgage, Auerbach said.

About 22 percent of home sales were distressed or bank-owned in Bellingham, compared to 46 percent in Lynden; the lowest and highest, respectively, of the five county areas studied.

Declining asking prices and increasing distressed or bank-owned sales make the current real estate market especially buyer-friendly, Auerbach said. Right now, Blaine is an attractive place for perspective home-buyers due to the number of homes priced less than $200,000.

“That’s the silver lining of a distressed market,” Auerbach said.

As of December, the median asking price of a home in Blaine is $278,950, Auerbach said. That figure is lower than the median prices in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden, but higher than prices in the Sudden Valley area and eastern Whatcom County.