October 25, 2021

Maryland Heights Residents

Crazy About Home & Real Estate

Housing costs climb far from Seattle as remote work takes hold

5 min read

White-collar personnel, untethered from their desks following providers flipped to remote function due to the fact of the pandemic, are getting their housing queries — and their money — farther from Seattle.

Outlying spots have boomed, from Spanaway to Poulsbo to Orcas Island.

Whatcom County, property to Bellingham, felt the modify, much too.

Remote workers are practically nothing new to the Northwest corner of Washington, but area authentic estate agents say the pandemic felt like hitting the fast-forward button.

“People were being coming up to the islands and Whatcom County in droves,” stated John L. Scott agent Annie Dameron Pederson. “It grew to become a various current market.” 

Homebuyers get there with hard cash to commit and mountain bikes in tow, stated Windermere agent Damian Pro. 

“​​They have this mentality of ‘we want to are living our finest everyday living,’” Professional explained.

As residence costs have hit history-highs across the country in the final calendar year, Western Washington has seen the most jaw-dropping expansion in regions outside Seattle. 

Very last thirty day period, the median solitary-family dwelling in Whatcom County offered for $552,550, up about 18% from the identical time very last calendar year and 37% from the very same time in 2019, prior to the pandemic, according to information unveiled Wednesday by the Northwest Numerous Listing Assistance. 

Somewhere else, the median house cost previous month in Snohomish County was $675,000, up about 18% from previous 12 months. In Pierce County, the median price was $506,650, up 16.5%. In Thurston County, the median of $470,000 is up 20.5%, in accordance to the NWMLS.


Dwelling prices have also climbed in San Juan County, nevertheless the smaller amount of sales there can lead to large swings in the figures. In September, the median home bought for $850,000, down about 6% from the similar thirty day period previous yr but up 6% from August.

King County’s $825,600 median is up about 10% 12 months-about-12 months. 

Even so, with the arrival of fall, the neighborhood housing industry is cooling off some.

In the Puget Audio area, the number of pending income previous thirty day period was down in contrast to August, and house price ranges are about stagnant in most destinations thirty day period-around-month. 

Far more houses had been available at the finish of September than in August, welcome information for potential buyers. But glimpse back again a small even more for context: Significantly much less houses are obtainable for sale than at the identical time in 2019, in advance of the pandemic.

The evaluate of how very long it would just take to provide each individual for-sale home at present demand from customers, recognised as months of inventory, inched up slightly in King and Pierce counties, indicating the current market is a little much less cutthroat. But that measure nonetheless continues to be at fewer than 3 months.

Brianna Harvey hasn’t looked back again given that relocating from Seattle to Bellingham last summertime. 

“As shortly as it seemed like function-from-home was going to be a extended-term detail, I started seeking,” mentioned Harvey, who will work in tech and grew up in Bellingham. 

She wanted to reside closer to mates and household and have more quickly accessibility to mountain biking and path managing. Even with a 20% down payment, Harvey encountered a hard market as she seemed for houses in her $400,000 to $425,000 funds. Inevitably, she secured a $450,000, two-bed room bungalow. 

“My quality of existence has surely improved,” she explained.

Redfin agent Cathie Butler stated she operates with buyers who have moved from California or the Seattle area, lots of of them prepared with hard cash to obtain in the Bellingham space.

Butler estimates most houses receive 8 to 12 gives and market for about $50,000 to $60,000 a lot more than their checklist cost. 

“It’s beginning to great down, but it’s even now tremendous competitive,” she reported. 

Climbing charges are driving potential buyers with much less to spend in lookup of possibilities. 

“We have additional persons than ever reaching out to us,” reported Dean Fearing, government director at the nonprofit Kulshan Community Land Rely on. (In a local community land have faith in, the nonprofit owns the land less than the residence and the homeowner agrees to get a constrained sum of fairness in buy to maintain the property very affordable into the potential.) 

“There just aren’t houses for sale that most doing work people today can pay for,” Fearing reported. 

Kulshan Local community Land Believe in is in the system of developing about two dozen new homes and designs 45 in the up coming three to five yrs, Fearing mentioned. The warm current market is making it more challenging for his organization to purchase land. The organization’s waiting list ranges from 40 to 70 would-be homebuyers.

“We’ve been found out,” Fearing stated of Whatcom County. “People know this is a group they want to shift to. For yrs, men and women have been carrying out that, but the pandemic, the mobility that presented, just accelerated that even faster.”

The aggressive market place can intimidate potential sellers, major them to keep off on transferring. 

“I hear that a whole lot: ‘Well, we cannot sell…Where will we go?” claimed Professional, from Windermere. 

Priced out purchasers are hunting further than Bellingham to Ferndale, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley and Blaine, he claimed.


In King County, the Eastside remains crimson-sizzling, with the $1.31 million median house rate up 26% from the identical time in 2020, but the amount of new income was down from August. Seattle’s median price tag, $850,000, is up about 4%. 

For condos, Seattle’s median rate of $505,000 is up about 5% from last year and the Eastside median of $566,000 is up 3%. 


Rebecca Lieberthal and her partner started off seeking for a residence in the Seattle spot previous summer time as a wave of potential buyers drawn by small-desire rates went home-buying. The pair created seven presents, at times competing towards a dozen other delivers, prior to securing their new household in Burien this summer months.

“More than exhilaration, we felt reduction that the procedure was about,” explained Lieberthal, who is effective as a nurse. As their family members grows, they may perhaps outgrow the dwelling. 

Currently, she stated, “I’m dreading this procedure all over again.”