It’s still up, up and away when it comes to home values in Whatcom County.
Whatcom County homes appreciated 7.8 percent at the end of 2016 compared to a year earlier, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That increase ranked Whatcom County 45th highest in the U.S. among the 258 metro areas studied and follows a 10 percent year-over-year jump in the third quarter.
It appears the same trends remain in place that are contributing to the rising home appreciation.
Inventory for available homes remains very low, hovering at 2.3 months in January, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That means if no homes come on the market, the inventory would be exhausted in just a little more than two months. A balanced market typically has six months of inventory.
Whatcom County had 230 new home listings in January, down 22.6 percent compared to a year earlier, according to the NWMLS.
Whatcom County is also in the shadow of the Seattle-area real estate market, which remains hot. Home values in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett market rose 11.8 percent, which was the second-highest year-over-year rise in the U.S.
The 5-year appreciation in Bellingham also has been strong. The end of 2011 was considered the low mark for the national index in the most recent real estate bubble burst; it has risen steadily since the beginning of 2012.
In Bellingham, the 5-year appreciation in home values was 25.4 percent, while Seattle home values rose 51.3 percent.
Skagit County also has seen a sharp jump in home values, rising 8.7 percent year-over-year. Its 5-year rise was 25.3 percent, according to the report.