Real Estate in Whatcom County

Bordering British Columbia, Canada and the Bellingham Bay, Whatcom County combines local industry, various outdoor activities, the savvy of a college town, and a robust lifestyle dating back to 1854. The area is filled with magnificent scenery, a culture of outdoor recreation, environmental activism, the Alaska Ferry, the Canadian border, Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountain Range, the Salish Sea, local food, spirits, art and music. These are all part of the genuine Whatcom County experience.

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 place home!

Area map

Whatcom County Home Prices

Source: Paul Balzotti, John L Scott Real Estate

City/Town Median Price Average Price
Whatcom County $364,000 $393,063
Bellingham $425,500 $491,485
Birch Bay/Blaine $318,500 $358,811
Ferndale $374,900 $375,742
Lynden $369,750 $378,701
Mount Baker $212,625 $242,033
Nooksack Valley $329,950 $339,202
Sudden Valley $332,000 $315,625

Employment in Whatcom County

Whatcom County offers a variety of employment opportunities – from construction to engineering, commercial fishing to telemarketing, aerospace to software development, healthcare to farmer, we have something for everyone.

In 2013, Whatcom County’s labor force was nearly 104,000 strong, with an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. By December 2014, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 percent and continued on a downward trend.

The county’s 2013 average annual wage was $41,334 and the median household income was $51,939.

The average commute to work is less than 21 minutes.

Sound good to you?  Check out all the service providers who are here to help you find your dream job in beautiful Whatcom County.

Whatcom County employment services include:

NW Workforce Council – The Council is a 27-member board responsible for governance and oversight of the workforce development system in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties. The Council convenes private and public sectors to address workforce development issues. The Council identifies current and future workforce trends, needs and priorities, and works with stakeholders and constituencies to execute priority initiatives.

Worksource Whatcom – Worksource is the state’s official career and employment site.  It functions similarly to an “unemployment” office in other states while providing training opportunities.  Their services are free of charge and everyone is welcome.

Training programs include: writing resumes & cover letters, interviewing techniques, effective job searches, Microsoft IT Academy, Key Train,  They also offer apprenticeships and worker retraining and education programs for dislocated workers.

Goodwill  – Goodwill offers programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and other special needs. They offer occupational skills training, job readiness programs, e-learning, on-the-job training, access to transportation, childcare and English language training.

An Employment SolutionAn Employment Solution is a staffing firm which works in partnership with employers to offer free employee assessment and placement in the office, professional, electronics, light industrial and skilled trade job markets.

Bayside USABayside USA is a professional recruiting & employment service which offers contract assignments, direct positions & temporary placement in the areas of engineering, design and drafting, and other technically oriented tasks.

Cascade Connections – Offering socially conscious employment solutions within Whatcom County. Accomplishing this through applicant screening, job matching, training support, subcontracting and janitorial services.

Cascade Job Corps CenterCascade Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor which offers residential job training & job placement for younger, entry-level workers.

Express Employment ProfessionalsExpress Employment Professionals is a staffing agency that offers temporary staffing, evaluation hiring and direct hire placement in a multitude of administrative, commercial and professional fields.

Kelly ServicesKelly Services is a temporary & full time staffing agency which provides tailored solutions for employers and employees in fields ranging from education & government to industrial & information technology.

Healthcare in Whatcom County

Health care is the largest industry in Whatcom County with PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center as the largest employer.  PeaceHealth is known for its state-of-the-art facility, friendly staff, and providing comprehensive care including specialty services in heart, joint and cancer care. Addressing the needs of the entire community, the hospital’s campus also includes an emergency room, a birthing center, and the center for senior health.

The Family Care Network (FCN) is the county’s largest single specialty group practice and a leading force within the local medical community. As a locally owned and independently operated healthcare network, FCN is free to focus on what matters most — the health and well-being of you and your family.

Interfaith Community Health Center provides affordable, evidence-based primary care. They provide preventive medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy services for children and adults to over 14,000 Whatcom County residents each year.

Care Medical Group is a locally owned and operated collective of diverse medical & administrative professionals; who provide high-quality medical care to Bellingham, WA and the surrounding Whatcom County residents and businesses. Care Medical Group has expanded from urgent care and family medicine to include occupational medicine, physical therapy, sports medicine, massage & wellness. 

Whatcom County also boasts a wide variety of alternative medical practices ranging from acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathy, massage, and medical marijuana. (Yes, medical and recreational marijuana are legal in the state of Washington.)

Bellingham is also home to numerous chiropractic facilities dedicated to focusing on health of the whole body & focused on addressing pain and prevention through wellness education. Chamber members Color Chiropractic and Natural Way Chiropractic are excellent choices for your chiropractic needs.

Any Lab Test Now is a direct access collection facility offering affordable, convenient tests with results between 24-72 hours.

Bellingham Anesthesia Associates is a group of  37 physician anesthesiologists. We provide care throughout Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties.

Advanced Vision Family Eye Care – Our mission is to provide the ideal eye care experience, to provide outstanding service, using cutting edge technology, the latest in fashion and lens engineering all delivered in a timely manner.

Cascadia Eye was established by Dr. Nannette Crowell in 1985, Cascadia Eye provides comprehensive eye care: from routine and medical exams, to cataract and cornea surgery, to independent eyewear designed in-house.

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center
2901 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA
(360) 734-5400

Family Care Network
3130 Squalicum Pkwy #100, Bellingham, WA
(360) 671-4509

Interfaith Community Health Center
220 Unity Street, Bellingham, WA
(360) 676-6177

Care Medical Group
4280 Meridian Street, Bellingham, WA
(360) 734-4300

Whatcom Occupational Health
3010 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA
(360) 676-1693