After years of a market strongly favoring sellers, Bellingham and Whatcom County are finally showing signs of returning to a more “historically normal” real estate market. Inventory is still low so challenges continue for buyers, but the crazy bidding wars that have plagued potential buyers over the past few years are fewer and farer between. Not every home is guaranteed to have multiple offers in the first weekend, and buyers aren’t always being forced to waive home inspections and financing contingencies.
Although low, the cycle of inventory remained predictable through the super hot market. There were June / July summer peaks and December / January winter lows for the number of new listings, total listings on market, pending sales, and closed sales. The number of days on market used to follow the inverse of the supply, with peak high days on market in the winter and lows in the summer. The chart above shows how that went out the window in the spring of 2020. The days on market barely varied over the course of the year. For sellers it didn’t matter when you put your house on the market; it was almost guaranteed to get snatched up in a few days at any time of year.
Things have shifted now that interest rates have increased. Days on market in the winter of 2022 / 2023 went back to the predictable cycle of years prior to 2020. The chart above showing median days on market per month for homes in Bellingham and Whatcom County looks a little like a heartbeat, except that in this example the “flatline” area was when the market was at its liveliest. The restarted beat shows that we have returned to normal, which in my opinion is healthy. The runaway appreciation we were experiencing was unsustainable, and made finding housing impossible for many people. I think we have returned to a period of moderate appreciation that should continue, unless we experience a nationwide recession.
Give me a call if you have questions about the market. I’m always happy to chat.