Bellingham Market Update-January 2019

Market Update-January bham

Contact us today to learn more about what is going on in the

market in your area… We are here to be your Real Estate

Recourse for Bellingham and surrounding areas.


Give us a call at 360.393.8299 or 360.393.1183 or CLICK HERE to Contact us now!


*Data provided by NWMLS



Buying a Home Young is the Key to Building Wealth

Buying a Home Young is the Key to Building Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Homeowners who purchase their homes before the age of 35 are better prepared for retirement at age 60, according to a new Urban Institute study. The organization surveyed adults who turned 60 or 61 between 2003 and 2015 for their data set.

“Today’s older adults became homeowners at a younger age than today’s young adults. Half the older adults in our sample bought their first house when they were between 25 and 34 years old, and 27 percent bought their first home before age 25.”

The full breakdown is in the chart below:

Buying a Home Young is the Key to Building Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

The study goes on to show the impact of purchasing a home at an early age. Those who purchased their first homes when they were younger than 25 had an average of $10,000 left on their mortgage at age 60. The 50% of buyers who purchased in their mid-twenties and early-30s had close to $50,000 left, but traditionally had purchased more expensive homes.

Buying a Home Young is the Key to Building Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Many housing experts are concerned that the homeownership rate amongst millennials, those 18-34, is much lower than previous generations in the same age range. The study results gave a great reason why this generation should consider buying instead of signing a renewal on their lease:

“As people age into retirement, they rely more heavily on their wealth rather than their income to support their lifestyles. Today’s young adults are failing to build housing wealth, the largest single source of wealth, at the same rate as previous generations.

While people make the choice to own or rent that suits them at a given point, maybe more young adults should take into account the long-term consequences of renting when homeownership is an option.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many young people debating whether buying a home this year is right for you, click here to contact us today to learn how we can help make your Real Estate dreams a reality.

The Best Time to List Your House? Today!

The Best Time to List Your House? TODAY!

You may have heard that the housing market is softening. There is no doubt that buyer traffic has decreased. There are fewer purchasers in the market than there were last month and at this time last year. What you may not have heard, however, is that there is still a severe shortage of listing inventory in many regions of the country.

In a recent interview discussing the housing market, First American’s Chief Economist Mark Fleming put it simply:

“The biggest challenge is really the availability of supply.”

When we look at available inventory numbers released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we see that the actual number of homes for sale has decreased in each of the last five months.

The Best Time to List Your House? TODAY! | Keeping Current Matters

What does this mean to you as a seller?

The best time to sell is when there is less competition. That guarantees you a better price and fewer hassles in the transaction.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your house this year, the best time to put it on the market might be right now.

Click HERE to contact us today!

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

Everyone should realize that unless you are living somewhere rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. Buying your own home provides you with a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to use your monthly housing costs to increase your family’s wealth.

Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are paying off a portion of the debt that you took on to purchase your home. Therefore, you own a little bit more of your home every month in the form of home equity. As your home’s value increases you also gain home equity.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists and asks them to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES).

The latest data from their Q4 2018 Survey revealed that home prices are expected to round out the year 5.8% higher than they were in January. For the next 5 years, home values will appreciate by an average of nearly 3% a year.

This is still great news for homeowners!

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home in January. Simply through their home appreciating in value, those homeowners can build their home equity by nearly $40,000 over the next five years.

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

Let’s look at the potential equity gained over the same period of time at some higher price points:

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

In many cases, home equity is a large portion of a family’s overall net worth.

“Gordon and I bought our first home in 1995 for $130,000. Our friends and family were shocked that we would spend so much, because just 5 years before us, they bought their first homes, similar to ours for only $50,000 – $80,000. Values had gone up so much and they gained incredible equity. Even though we were paying substantially more for our home, we also hoped to gain the same kind of equity by being in ownership over renting. Sure enough, we were right. We sold our first home in 2004 for $270,000 giving us a large amount of equity that we could use to move up with our growing family.  Here it is, at the end of 2018 and we believe our home has more than doubled again.

Home ownership is the best financial decision we ever made.  We want to help you gain that kind of financial security with your own place to call home. Call us today if you want to discuss how you can start building equity. You can get into a conventional loan for as little as 3% down and interest rates are still good. We look forward to hearing from you.”


Click Here to Contact Us Now!

4 Reasons to Buy A Home This Winter!

4 Reasons to Buy A Home This Winter! | Keeping Current Matters

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insight report revealed that home prices have appreciated by 5.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.7% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4.8%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase in 2019.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person building that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. Click Here to contact us now, we would love to help you achieve your Real Estate goals.

24% of Renters Believe Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home

24% of Renters Believe Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home | Keeping Current Matters

In real estate, the spring is often seen as the ideal time to buy or sell a house. The term “Spring Buyer’s Season” exists for a reason, as renters and those looking to move on from their current home thaw out from the winter and hit the market ready to buy.

According to Bank of America’s annual Home Buyer Insights Report, 41% of renters surveyed agree that spring is the best time to buy a home. The surprising result, however, is that when ranking the seasons, winter comes in second at 24%.

24% of Renters Believe Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home | Keeping Current Matters

In many areas of the country, the spring and summer are the most competitive seasons for buyers. Families with children often want to move over the summer to make sure that their kids are ready for school in the fall. This often leads those families who haven’t found homes to buy to push pause on their search in the fall and winter months.

This creates a great environment for buyers to find a home with less competition. According to, scheduling a move during the winter months also comes with the best price.

If you define ‘best’ by cost then, generally speaking, you are more likely to save on a move during the late September to April window. Demand for movers usually slows down during this time frame and rates are low.

There are also many benefits to listing your house for sale during the winter months as well!

As we recently mentioned, buyers who are out in the winter are serious about wanting to find a home, and there is traditionally less competition on the market which gives you greater exposure to those buyers.

Bottom Line

As always, the best time to buy or move all depends on each individual buyer or seller’s goals and needs. If you are one of the many who would like to make a move this winter, click here to contact a us today! We can help you create a plan to make it happen!

Are Homeowners Renovating to Sell or to Stay?

Are Homeowners Renovating to Sell or to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

Over the past few years, two trends have emerged in the housing market:

  1. Home renovations have shot up
  2. Inventory of homes available for sale on the market has dropped

A ‘normal’ housing market is defined by having a 6-month supply of homes for sale. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors, we are currently at a 4.4-month supply.

This low inventory environment has many current homeowners worried that they would be unable to find a home to buy if they were to list and sell their current houses, which is causing many homeowners to instead renovate their homes in an attempt to fit their needs.

According to Home Advisorhomeowners spent an average of $6,649 on home improvements over the last 12 months. If that number seems high, it also includes homeowners who recently bought fixer-uppers.

A new study from Zillow asked the question,

“Given a choice between spending a fixed amount of money on a down payment for a new home or fixing up their current home, what would you do?”

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said that they would rather renovate their current homes than move. The results are broken down by generation below.

Are Homeowners Renovating to Sell or to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

More and more studies are coming out about the intention that many Americans have to ‘age in place’ (or retire in the area in which they live). Among retirees, 91% would prefer to renovate than spend their available funds on a down payment on a new home.

If their current house fits their needs as far as space and accessibility are concerned, then a renovation could make sense. But if renovations will end up changing the identity of the home and impacting resale value, then the renovations may end up costing them more in the long run.

With home prices increasing steadily for the last 6.5 years, homeowners have naturally gained equity that they may not even be aware of. Listing your house for sale in this low-competition environment could net you more money than your renovations otherwise would.

Bottom Line

Are you thinking about renovating your home or a portion of your home? Make an appointment with us today for advice on understanding how to get value added for resale purposes ,while at the same time making your home more comfortable of the years you will stay.

Shannon Neufeld: 360.393.1183 . .

Gordon Neufeld: 360.393.8299 . .



Home Sellers in Q3 Netted $61K at Resale

Home Sellers in Q3 Netted $61K at Resale | Keeping Current Matters

According to a recent report by ATTOM Data Solutions, home sellers who sold their homes in the third quarter of 2018 benefited from rising home prices and netted an average of $61,232.

This is the highest average price gain since the second quarter of 2007 and represents a 32% return on the original purchase prices.

After the Great Recession, many homeowners were left in negative equity situations but home price appreciation in the recovery period since then has given homeowners something to smile about.

The results from ATTOM fall right in line with data from the latest edition of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Below is a chart that was created using NAR’s data to show the percentage of equity that homeowners earned at the time of sale based on when they purchased their homes.

Home Sellers in Q3 Netted $61K at Resale | Keeping Current Matters

Even though those who purchased at the peak of the market netted less than those who bought before and after the peak, the good news is that there was a double-digit profit to be had! Many homeowners believe that they are still underwater which has led many of them to not even consider selling their houses.

Bottom Line

If you are curious about how much equity you’d earn if you sold your home, click here to contact us today for an equity review. We can help you determine the demand for your home in today’s market and help you develop a plan!


From a Dated Renovation to an Updated Cottage


The project was right in Jamie Keskin’s wheelhouse. The Boston-based interior designer’s style can best be described as a modern take on cottage chic. Which is exactly why when her clients reached out to her about updating their cedar-shingle, Nantucket-style home she was excited about the opportunity. “There was beautiful craftsmanship everywhere,” she says of the remodeled stunner. “They didn’t skimp on any details during the remodel.”

The architectural details laid the foundation for Keskin’s redesign, which aimed to brighten the space by taking advantage of the home’s ample natural light as well as modernizing it with playful fabrics and finishes. Having known the clients for several years—they met at a local antique marketplace—Keskin was in tune with their personal style. “They love a good mix of traditional with a cottage feel,” she says. “I’d say they were traditional but in a casual, comfortable way so I knew that was the direction I would go in. Nothing midcentury or contemporary or over the top. We just really wanted to stay true to the style of the home.”

The homeowners enlisted Keskin to help rework their master bedroom, living room, dining room, and mudroom as the adjacent kitchen had recently been updated with the renovation. But Keskin wasn’t starting with a blank slate. Like many of her clients, they wanted to utilize existing pieces—namely furniture and antiques they’d collected over the years—into the home’s interior design while also incorporating furniture, fabrics, and textures to infuse new life into the space. “I love when clients have existing pieces that they want to include in the home’s design, especially heirloom pieces because they make the home feel more personal, it tells a story,” she explains.

Keskin drew inspiration from the kitchen, which boasts shiplap walls, exposed reclaimed wood beams, mahogany, and honed granite countertops, Carrara-marble subway tiles, and a touch of color via a light gray blue for the base of the island. “It’s such a welcoming space and we wanted to capture that in the living areas,” she says.

The living room is where the homeowners do the bulk of their day-to-day living and entertaining, so it was important that it be comfortable and inviting. A coffee table—a small antique boat outfitted with a glass top—along with the area rug were two of the clients’ existing pieces that Keskin built her design around. The rug with its pops of tomato red and celadon blue served as color inspiration and led Keskin to keep the furniture and walls simple and neutral. She layered throw pillows and draperies to bring color and texture into the room.

The draperies by GP & J Baker set the stage with the same hues as the rug, while a pair of adjacent chairs swathed in a playful but more neutral ocelot-print fabric by Cowtan & Tout offset the colorful draperies and custom throw pillows by Jane Churchill, Scalamandre, and Kerry Joyce Textiles. “It was all about balance in this space. So, mixing tiny, bold fabrics with neutrals really allows everything to blend together,” says Keskin. The ample natural light also played a role in the interior design as it highlights the organic texture of the existing coffee table while also brightening the colorful prints and patterns.

In the dining room, Keskin applied the same tactic of using the homeowners’ existing pieces as the base—the dining room table and chairs, for example, were the clients’ own prior to enlisting Keskin—as a base. A stunning blue grass cloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries in the room immediately adds a dose of modernity amongst the ultra-traditional furniture. Likewise, draperies also by Phillip Jeffries in a geometric pattern feel playful yet sophisticated in the traditional setting.

To add pops of color, designer Jamie Keskin added custom throw pillows by Jane Churchill, Scalamandre, and Kerry Joyce Textiles to the neutral sofa.

Collected Cottage


Keskin drew inspiration for the living room color palette from homeowners’ existing rug and layered the room with custom draperies by GP & J Baker complemented by a pair of chairs swathed in a fun ocelot-print fabric by Cowtan & Tout. An antique boat repurposed as a coffee table anchors the space and provides a rustic element.

While Keskin loved reworking the living and dining areas for her clients, she is especially fond of the mudroom. “It was a fun, small space [where] we could really push the envelope a little bit,” she says. With minimal wall space to add color to, Keskin suggested a fun wallpaper in lieu of paint. “There wasn’t a ton of wall with the wainscoting, so I convinced her to go bold with the wallpaper,” says Keskin of the Galbraith & Paul paper, which complemented the bluestone flooring. “It made the room feel bigger. Some clients are afraid to commit to wallpaper but it’s easier to commit to it in a smaller space. She wanted something different in that room and this hit the mark.” To add more pattern to the space, Keskin also added a custom cushion for the bench swathed in Thibaut fabric, which Keskin had vinylized to prevent staining.

Though the clients are still tweaking rooms here and there, Keskin knows her clients love the final product. “It feels like you stepped out to a farm on acres of land,” she says. “It’s gorgeous.”

Still Think You Need 15-20% Down to Buy a Home? Think Again!


According to a new study from Urban Institute, there are over 19 million millennials in 31 cities who are not only ready and willing to become homeowners, but are able to as well!

Now that the largest generation since baby boomers has aged into prime homebuying age, there will no doubt be an uptick in the national homeownership rate. The study from Urban Institute revealed that nearly a quarter of this generation has the credit and income needed to purchase a home.

Surprisingly, the largest share of mortgage-ready millennials lives in expensive coastal cities. These cities often attract highly skilled workers who demand higher salaries for their expertise.

So, what’s holding these mortgage-ready millennials back from buying?

Myths About Down Payment Requirements! 

Most of the millennials surveyed for the study believe that they need at least a 15% down payment in order to buy a home when, in reality, the median down payment in the US in 2017 was just 5%, and many programs are available for even lower down payments!

The study goes on to point out that:

“Despite limited awareness, every state has programs that provide grants and loans to make homeownership more attainable, with average assistance in various states ranging from $2,436 to $21,171.”

Bottom Line

With so many young families now able to buy a home in today’s market, the demand for housing will continue for years to come. If you are one of the many millennials who have questions about their ability to buy in today’s market, click here to contact us now so we can assist you along your journey!