March 2014 Update on the Bellingham Apartment Building Market

First, I’d like to thank all the attendees of my March 10th panel discussion “Should you Buy Sell or Hold in 2014″, an event I co-hosted with the Bank of the Pacific and Archer Halliday. Bellingham apartment building owners and Whatcom County real estate investors shared insights on the Bellingham apartment building market and watched presentations by three of Bellingham’s commercial real estate experts on topics aimed at increasing return on investment in 2014.

One of the key takeaways from the event was the Whatcom County multi-family market update which presented data that proves the Bellingham apartment building market continues to experience record low vacancy rates along with steadily increasing rents year over year. This is a very good sign for Bellingham apartment building buyers and sellers, and a strong indicator that Bellingham continues to be a hot market for apartment building sales. It’s a great time to be a landlord in Bellingham, WA.

That said, as I also revealed at the event, the City of Bellingham is currently processing a record number of permit applications for new multi-family construction projects which are slated to break ground this spring 2014. The end result will be thousands of additional rental units entering the Bellingham market in the fall 2014 timeframe.

And that can only mean one thing for Bellingham apartment building owners: significantly increased competition for renters who will have many more rental options to choose from. And while this will benefit Bellingham renters by creating a more balanced market, apartment building owners will need to make sure their current rental units remain competitive with the new units.

In my next post, I’ll present some strategies that I have helped my clients implement to stay competitive in a market with increasing vacancy rates.