Last March, the Bellingham Herald published an article discussing the very low vacancy rates of rental properties in Bellingham, WA. The story was based on a study completed by the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington which found that Whatcom County’s vacancy rate was down to 1.7 percent in October 2012, falling from 2.2 percent the previous year. The housing crash stopped some of the natural development that would have occurred and with an ever growing student population, the demand for rentals is high. Although vacancy rates are dropping all over the country, the national vacancy rate in October, 2013 was 4.2 percent. Typically the apartment rental market is considered normal when the vacancy rate is about 5 percent.
Vacancy Rates in Bellingham, WA
The average monthly rent in Bellingham is $801 which is $19 higher than the year before. In general, however, rental rates have not kept pace with the low vacancy rates as stagnant wages and a weak job market have dampened renters’ ability to pay a higher rate.