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Old 01-02-2018, 02:01 PM
 
1,661 posts, read 2,151,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PartIrish View Post
The current unemployment rate in Bellingham is 4.4 percent, which is considered full employment by economic standards, although that rate is a little higher than Seattle, and the U.S. overall. I agree that crowds are never a problem in B'ham, like you find in Seattle. We are mostly only in Bellingham during the summer, but even during that busy time of year the crowd levels are very manageable.
Bellingham is less crowded in the summer.
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:10 PM
 
1,661 posts, read 2,151,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momma4evr View Post
I'll offer my personal insight / opinion... Bellingham's #1 asset is it's geographical location. The trails both in and outside of the city are amazing and the best part about living here as far as I'm concerned. The water views are spectacular. The access to Canada or the San Juan Islands is a plus. Access to the community college, WWU, Bellingham Technical College are all positive points. We love hiking the trails here - the only downside for us has been the frequent smell of pot in the air on the trails and state parks. Kind of ruins that wonderful rush of clean, crisp ocean or forest air in your lungs.

But... I'm seeing an all-too-familiar shift in Bellingham - similar to what I witnessed in Seattle, particularly West Seattle, with the Microsoft boom. Housing, in my opinion, is the most challenging issue here. Overpriced. Generic (as in so much of the new development look like cookie cutter plans for both houses and apartments). Most of the apartments or "condos" look the same to me and they are everywhere... If you've see one floor plan, you've seen them all. The rental market here was designed for students, in my opinion. Not for families. Other rentals or developments are for 55 & over (and many of those weren't thought out well with stairs/multiple stories and no elevators). New housing developments literally look like someone could reach their arm out of their window and touch their neighbors house, they are packed in so closely. Just enough yard for their dog to do his/her business in (and you'd better be a dog lover and not mind living in a complex with multiple dog owners who don't give a hoot if their dog is barking, and they don't pick up after their dog - many leave their little plastic bags of poop on the side of the trail... What do they think? That the city of county has a special division to pick up their dog's crap?! I love dogs but I love responsible and courteous dog owners even more!) We've seen a huge number of newcomers to the state move into our complex and the one, recurring thing we've witnessed over time is they don't pay any attention to the recycling bins or instructions. Our neighbors are from Texas and they've gone on and on about how much they love it here - how beautiful it is - and yet they stuff their cardboard boxes in with the garbage. They remodeled the unit they bought and filled one half of the dumpster with huge garbage bags leaving no room for all of the tenants/owners in our section. I guess it's that kind of behavior / me-me-me attitude that I hate to see growing here. But, that's how it is everywhere it seems anymore...

A one income family will have a difficult time buying a home here and, if renting, expect a good portion of your income to be eaten up by the ever-increasing rental prices. Internet is more expensive here than we have found in other locations. Traffic is increasingly getting worse in some areas... Try Sunset / Barkley area at 5 pm, or Guide Meridian. Side streets where new development is currently taking place will not be able to handle the amount of new drivers / cars added to the area. Trying to cross Cordata off of June road has gotten more difficult as people drive way over the 35 mph speed limit and with the increase in traffic. We found drivers here to be quite courteous when we first moved here, but we're seeing a big shift as time goes on. Impatient, speeding, tailgating, honking, parking spot "thieves". For the size of Bellingham, I think it is very crowded in some areas... Fred Meyer on Bakerview or Costco or Wal-Mart can get excessively overcrowded. We're finding it increasingly frustrating to go shopping and often / repeatedly find the items we needed were sold out / not available. I don't know if that's due to an increase in Bham population or Canadian shoppers, but we're noticing it more and more often.

Homeless? There is a large homeless community here in Bellingham. I always wonder about people who are concerned and ask about this... What is it? They don't want to see the reality of our times? I recently took my son to see firsthand how some of Bellingham's homeless are living. I wanted him to be aware - it's all too easy to see a panhandler on the street or a tipped over grocery cart outside of a wetland area and not give a second thought as to how that person is living. There are encampments near PeaceHealth off of Cordata and you can see the "campers" / homeless surface from time to time outside of the wooded areas. We walked behind the habitat store off of Cornwall and there are tent homes erected along Whatcom Creek that I'm sure a lot of people don't even know about. It's tragic to see. Difficult to know that this is how our fellow man is living... especially with the frigid temps.

Our experience is that people are pleasant and for the most part kind here... but it is hard to establish strong ties with others (in our opinion). I really think it has to do with the overabundance of crowded, multi-family housing. People don't have a yard to work in, so they're not outside much to interact with one another. They come home, park their car, walk to the mailbox and then go inside and slam their doors... and do it all over again the next day. To become a part of this community, you have to make a real effort to get involved in something to meet others. That may be church, a volunteer group, etc. There are plenty of churches and volunteer opportunities for a variety of religious, political, philosophical beliefs.

We moved to Bellingham with high hopes of building a life here and giving of ourselves to the community. Things were going well the first year until our housing situation changed (landlord decided to "cash in" and sell our rental)... We looked to buy - darling house on Lummi Island that was affordable but extremely challenging commute wise for our situation (the mortgage would have been great, but almost $400/mo just for the ferry cost... and the unreliability of depending on the ferry). So now, we are back to where we were just 18 months ago... trying to find reliable, affordable housing... like everyone else. We thought this would be our last major move, that Bellingham would be our "forever" home. It's not looking like that will happen. We will be priced out unless one of us can make a huge bundle of money. For all of the "hippy", earthy, liberal appeal of Bellingham, it's changing. I'm not a super liberal nor would I say I'm a conservative... pretty middle-of-the-road... but I'm seeing Bham shift slowly but surely. I used to love Seattle - lived in West Seattle for years and never wanted to live anyplace else. But it changed - you couldn't pay me enough money to live in the Seattle area today. I've just got this awful feeling that Bellingham is going in a similar direction... it won't be immediate, but the housing market changes here have been a real eye opener for me. I suppose this is a great place to move for someone with the cash to buy or invest in Bham - or for students (wonderful place to attend college), but as I continue to age and make plans for my future, I don't think Bellingham is where I can afford to stay. We're a bit heartbroken, but plan on enjoying it here and contributing positively (hopefully) during our time here... I just can't allow myself to get too attached as I do think we'll be priced out of this area.

Hope some of this is helpful to those of you wondering about the area.
Imagine how those of us who have been here our whole lives feel and it's only going to get worse. Even the county is becoming unaffordable for families.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Out West
439 posts, read 287,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waviking24 View Post
Bellingham is less crowded in the summer.
Are you referring to the absence of the college population? Good point--I would agree that their absence would make a difference, but there are a lot of vacationers each summer, so I'm not sure where it all nets out. For instance, I've been to the Depot Market many times during the school year (fall and spring) and also in July, and July is definitely more crowded.
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:56 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
86,843 posts, read 80,084,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waviking24 View Post
Imagine how those of us who have been here our whole lives feel and it's only going to get worse. Even the county is becoming unaffordable for families.


BTW, I've looked at RE prices and rents in Lynden, and I don't see hardly any difference between it and B'ham, at all. People say, "Oh, go to Lynden--it's cheaper!" I'm not seeing it.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:16 PM
mev
 
Location: Olympic Peninsula, Wa
154 posts, read 253,100 times
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I was born and raised in Seattle and was pushed out due to housing costs. It used to be so square and slow! I still reside in Washington State though.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:14 AM
 
220 posts, read 171,849 times
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I live inside Bellingham in a 1958, 2 bedroom 1.75 bath, 1300 sq. ft. rancher. The house is in a desirable part of town. My utilities (2017) average $200/mo for water, natural gas and electric. What we call the water bill, $80/mo average in 2017, includes many related taxes - water, sewer, watershed, etc. Conserving water use would have little effect as, until recently, we were not metered. Metering has saved us about $10/mo. We tend to keep the house a couple of degrees warmer than most people. As retirees, we are home more hours than workers so utilities are used 24/7. Property tax is $11.2831080518 per thousand dollars of value. The assessed taxable value of my house has increased 30% since 2014. Sales tax is 8.7% and excludes non-prepared foods and prescription drugs, a major part of our budget (over 10%). Other excludes don't have as big an effect on us.


This thread is older than my residency in WA. I moved here in 2011.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Out West
439 posts, read 287,622 times
Reputation: 1096
AnnaLee2, After seven or so years, are you happy you made the move? We already own property in B'ham but still live in another state and will until I retire in another year. If we do move to Bellingham, I'm planning that we will likely spend 2-3 months a year between November and February in a sunnier climate, but otherwise am trying to envision ourselves there full time instead of part time. Anyway, I'd be interested to hear your take on the city.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:33 AM
 
220 posts, read 171,849 times
Reputation: 793
I hate to say it but I'm not a happy camper and I knew that would be the case before we came. My husband is disabled and his family lives near here so that is why we came. I wanted to go back to California as I am a warm, dry lover. It really is a personality thing, I think. I'm not one to pull cheerful out of a pout so I suffer from my personality. I want to go where I can be warm, not cold and damp to the bone. (Ask me in the summer for a better answer.)


I would advise anyone that can do it to go where they will greet each day with enthusiasm.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:47 AM
 
1,661 posts, read 2,151,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post


BTW, I've looked at RE prices and rents in Lynden, and I don't see hardly any difference between it and B'ham, at all. People say, "Oh, go to Lynden--it's cheaper!" I'm not seeing it.
Yep. Lynden is getting just as bad as Bellingham now. I guess Everson is the new affordable area for young families.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,140 posts, read 1,539,690 times
Reputation: 2490
Update time!
We have surpassed the 2006 Bubble pricing of homes/rentals and continue to head into uncharted territory.
It's driven by the perfect storm:

Water availability-the Hirst Decision placed a moratorium on new wells, effectively putting a stop to growth(you won't get a building permit) outside the cities...the only place we really have room to grow. This was based upon the assumption that people on wells are using too much water and it's hurting the fish in the Nooksack river. Stupidly, it is rural housing with wells and septic systems that are the most eco-friendly, provided the septic system is operating properly, as a large percentage of the water is returned to the water table. Bellingham, on the other hand, draws 16 million gallons a day from Lake Whatcom, which is fed by the middle fork of the Nooksack river, and only returns it's processed sewage into Bellingham Bay at Post Point. Legislation recently reversed the Hirst Decision, but I'm sure they are fighting over it already.

College student housing- WWU has grown over the years, offering more classes, more buildings, and of course collecting more tuition. But on campus housing has only increased 70 some odd "beds" since the 1970's. It was said in a recent article, that the student population alone outnumbers the entire # of "beds" available in Bellingham. When the rental inspection program came into effect, evidence was found of students living in basements, walk in closets, garages, attics, and the like. Rents have sky-rocketed to the point where investors are buying family homes and renting them out to as many students as they can pack in. Think about it, you buy a home for $450K, split the rooms up and rent it out to 8 students at $500 each, which you will have a LINE of applicants waiting for, cha-ching, instant profit $$$$. Never mind the deterioration of the family neighborhoods, the driveways and sides of the streets full of parked cars, increased traffic, noise, and so on.

More people-Much like it was in the mid 2000's, people are pouring in like lemmings again. Traffic is starting to get bad to the point where there is accidents on I-5 pretty much daily at rush hour. Because of the lack of housing and no real places for more building starts, we're being "replaced" by those coming in from other places with more money driving up pricing in what little existing housing is for sale. The real estate page in the paper comes out and there is red slashes 'sold/pending" across nearly everything. My workplace recently lost 3 co-workers who left for other cities/states, citing that they would be able to live cheaper, make more money, and save ~1/3rd MORE money between now and their retirement by making this move.

The side affects-Homelessness has increased drastically. We had an issue with them camping on city hall lawn for some time until a Judge ordered them off. The camps move around, until they are found and cleaned out. BPD was recently cleaning out a camp and it took several truck loads to clean up the garbage, bottles, needles, remains of dozens of stolen bicycles in various states of disassembly, and of course mess from them all having no bathroom. Our mayor prides us as a "Sanctuary City" yet I've seen more homeless people out and about with mental, drug, and alcohol issues than ever before that aren't getting any help.

Like it or not, it's slowly turning into Seattle here, and I am not impressed.
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