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Changes to Rental Property Pricing in Bellingham

Posted by sonrise on September 18, 2020
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Nestled between the snow-capped peaks of the North Cascades and the windswept waters of the Salish Sea, Bellingham, WA is a city on the move. Bellingham has been in the process of transforming from an industrial center to a thriving tourist hub over the last century. With that change has come new opportunities, new growth, and some significant upticks in the price of rental property.

Eyes on Bellingham

Property investors have been keeping an eye on Bellingham as a place where there’s a lot of potential to reap high returns on rental properties. The population has been increasing steadily over the last decade, from 80,885 as of the 2010 census to an estimated 92,314 in 2019. Bellingham is the northernmost city in the contiguous U.S. with a population above 50,000.

There are a few reasons behind that growth (and the increased demand for rentals that has come with it). Part of it lies in Bellingham’s location—between the mountains and the coast, a stone’s throw from Mt. Baker and North Cascades National Park—which makes it a hub for outdoor adventure and a convenient ferry port to Alaska.

Bellingham also offers a thriving arts scene, vibrant downtown, incredible farm-to-table eateries, a burgeoning craft beer culture and, perhaps most importantly, a strong local economy. Job and income growth are attracting many new residents to Bellingham, which has led to a shortage of available housing. As the Bellingham Herald has reported, that adds up to greater demand for rental properties and increased rental rates.

Growth in Rental Properties

There are a few ways to track the price of rental properties, and when in doubt, we always return to the data. Renter occupied households make up just over 56% of all housing units in Bellingham (that’s well above the national average). And while there have been ups and downs over the last five years, the overall trend in the cost of Bellingham rentals is up, up, up.

Let’s look at a few specific figures, based on data collected by, that illustrate that growth:

  • The median cost of a studio apartment rental in Bellingham, WA has risen from $700 in August, 2015 to $995 in August, 2020.
  • In the same five-year span, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment rental has increased significantly, from $725 in August, 2015 to $1,160 in August, 2020.
  • A two-bedroom apartment rented for a median of $925 in August, 2015 and for $1,350 in August, 2020.
  • Three-bedroom apartments rented for a median of $1,995 in August, 2020. That’s up from $1,400 in August 2015, but down slightly from a peak of $2,095 in May, 2020.

Of course, neighborhoods play a big role in the pricing of rental properties as well, and the space of just a few blocks can make a big difference. For example, the median monthly rent for a studio apartment in Fairhaven—a historic district that is among the city’s most affluent—is $1,095, while the median in the Sehome neighborhood is just $795.

Bellingham Rental Property

All the data points to strong opportunities for landlords and property investors to turn a strong profit on Bellingham rental properties. One of the ways you can ensure a better return on your investment is to utilize the latest property management tools and resources. Professional property management includes everything from marketing your property and screening tenants to collecting rent, handling maintenance and overseeing evictions.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can get the most out of your Bellingham rental property, and why Bellingham is a great place to invest in rentals. Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996.

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