City Profile: Bellingham, WA
Sitting just 21 miles south of the Canadian border in the Pacific Northwest is the city of Bellingham, Washington. Named after Bellingham Bay, Bellingham is the most populated city in Whatcom County, the 12th most populous in Washington, and fits snugly between major cities Vancouver and Seattle. It is one of the few cities in the continental United States that experiences astronomical twilight for the entire night, which occurs from June 14th to June 28th each year.
As of 2019, the city of Bellingham had a population of just over 92,000. It is a quickly growing area with redevelopment occurring on over 100 acres of land within the Waterfront District, moving from an industrial focus to a residential and commercial focus. The biggest employers in the city include Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center, Western Washington University, and the Bellingham School District.
Real Estate Market
Currently, the median selling price of homes in Bellingham is $556,335, or $371 per square foot, which is above a 20% increase from last year. The city is currently in a seller’s market; the number of homes for sale has decreased by significantly from last year, and 58% of homes are sold above asking price. Additionally, almost all homes (86%) are sold within 30 days of going on the market. Following national trends, rent has also increased significantly from 2021. The median monthly rent in Bellingham is $1,395 for a 1-bedroom, $1,695 for 2 bedrooms, $2,200 for 3 bedrooms, and $2,800 for 4 or more bedrooms. While the market is fairly balanced, rental unit options may be more abundant as 57% of occupied housing units in the city are renter-occupied, and only 43% are owner-occupied.
Culture and Community
Bellingham has much to offer with a lively downtown area and many community events throughout the year. One emerging industry in the city is craft beer, with over 14 breweries now open in the city, many of which have won medals at both national and international brewery competitions. The Bellingham farmers Market is hosted every week from April to December in the downtown area, featuring over fifty vendors, community events, and live music. You can also catch Downtown Sounds every Wednesday during the summer, a concert series featuring local food and beer vendors, as well as the Commercial Street Night Market from May to September. The city also hosts annual sporting events such as the Ski to Sea race and the Bellingham Bay Marathon. Other annual community events include the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour, the Bellingham Highland Games & Scottish Festival, the Bellingham Festival of Music, and celebrations of the International Day of Peace on September 21st.
There are also a variety of local attractions that draw tourists into this cute seaside city. The Whatcom Museum of History and Art offers local exhibitions as well as history and art lessons for adult groups and local schools during the monthly Gallery Walk. You can also check out the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention or the Bellingham Railway Museum. The city is also surrounded by beautiful landscapes and natural spaces, such as Whatcom Falls Park, North Lookout Mountain, Larrabee State Park, Lake Padden, Lake Samish, and Lake Whatcom.
Bellingham’s combination of an active artistic community and quiet residential areas gives it a unique mixture of university students and retirees in the population. The city has been listed as one of America’s 25 Best Places to Retire by Forbes, and also boasts an active music, literary, and theater scene among the university and downtown communities.
These are the most popular neighborhoods for residents in Bellingham:
- Cornwall Park
- Lettered Streets
- Mount Baker
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