Whatcom County and the Pacific Northwest have some of the most scenic views in the country. Where else are there views of the ocean, islands, lush greenery and forests and mountains – and some properties have all four views! Combine that incredible landscape with a temperate climate and no wonder, Whatcom County continually ranks high in “best places to live” surveys.
Thanks to continuing in-migration and the overall strength of the Pacific Northwest economy, real estate in Whatcom County has continued to appreciate since the recession. While prices are not yet at the 2005, 2006, 2007 peak, they have been steadily increasing each year. County wide, prices on average are just 6 percent less the average back in 2007. Real estate values have definitely rebounded since the economic meltdown.
While prices have increased, interest rates have stayed low which creates affordability. Recently, FHA significantly reduced premiums for the monthly mortgage insurance which will aid many first-time home buyers and those with limited down payment resources. USDA loans still offers zero percent down payments, available in most of the county and the 3 percent down loan has just recently returned to most lenders loan program arsenal.
So is it a good time to invest in real estate in Whatcom County? Yes! Continual population growth increases housing demand, our neighbors to the north (Canada) see the affordability of real estate here, and the presence of higher education (Western Washington University, Whatcom County Community College, Bellingham Technical College and various private colleges) all combine to drive the demand for homes and apartments. Most real estate experts see continual real estate appreciation in the future so if your home ownership time frame is long enough to take advantage of increasing home values, it’s a great time to buy.
Where should you buy a home? Obviously, much of that decision is driven by personal preferences. Homes in Bellingham tend to cost more than in the smaller cities in the County like Blaine, Lynden, Nooksack, Everson, Sumas and Ferndale. Regardless of where you choose to live, the good news is you can get to most locations within a half hour (roughly 45 minutes if traveling to the furthest reaches of the county.) Thankfully, commuting anywhere in Whatcom County is easy to do, unlike Seattle and other major metropolitan areas.
So take the plunge! Walk around the communities in Whatcom County and see which community feels like home to you. A strong economy and demand for housing bodes well for a real estate investment and that can have a positive impact on your overall net worth. That and the personal satisfaction of owning your own home and community commitment means that Whatcom County will thrive and grow for years to come! Join thousands of others who live and work here and called this “Fourth Corner” home!