One of the main factors that renters consider when choosing a rental property is the monthly rental rate. Bellingham, WA has seen considerable growth in the last 20 years; adding more than 20,000 residents between 2000 and 2016 and growing from a population of 67,171 to 87,574. This growth has caused very low rental vacancy rates, a competitive rental market and rising rent. In fact, when compared to nearby cities Bellingham’s rental rates have been rising faster even faster than Seattle’s in 2018 and 2019. While Seattle has been the fasted growing city in the last decade, it is now experiencing a flatlining or possible decline in population as the cost of housing prices many out of the market. This is likely to result in decreasing rental rates.
Factors affecting rental property rental rates
A key driver in increasing rental rates is a very low overall vacancy in the Bellingham area. With very few properties available to rent and a surplus of interested renters, this creates a housing market where property owners have the advantage. Bellingham is an attractive location because of its beauty and size but also its relative closeness to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. The area also continues to have a low overall unemployment rate and there are Seattle workers willing to make the commute from Bellingham.
Property types compared to previous years:
When looking at rental rates it’s important to consider the type of property so you’re comparing apples to apples. When comparing 2019 rental rates to the same time period in 2018 the variation in rental rate is different based on the type of rental:
- One-bedroom apartments have seen an increase in monthly rent of roughly 14.13%.
- Two-bedroom apartments have seen prices go in the opposite direction; decreasing in price by 44.51% in the same time period.
One-bedroom apartments tend to be more popular with younger renters. Two-bedroom apartments tend to carry a higher base rental price and are favored by young families or those who are caring for an elderly relative.
Bellingham rental rate trends
Overall, 2019 rental prices in Bellingham have decreased when compared to this time last year (a notable high point in the local market) but, they seem to be steadily increasing. Over the last six months, single bedroom apartments have gone up in price by roughly 10.5% while two-bedroom apartments have increased in price by 3.3%. Overall, this results in an average rent increase of 9.7% for the city. It remains to be seen if Bellingham will hit the high point again this year or if the boom is softening.
Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.