The Gardner Report Q4 2019

You’ll notice from the infographic to the right that every single statistic is UP except Homes for Sale- What does this mean?

This means inventory continues to lessen thus increasing the ratio of supply and demand event more.  I feel like I’ve been saying this is a problem for years now and it is hard to believe it could get any worse- but here we are!

Below you’ll find a link to a full analysis of the Western Washington real estate market- it is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your specific area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Download the full Q4 Gardner Report

Posted on January 31, 2020 at 12:31 am
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Market Updates |

The Gardner Report Q3 2019

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Download the full report

Posted on October 24, 2019 at 7:15 am
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Market Updates |

Q2 2019 Gardner Report

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions.

If you’d like to download a copy of this report you can do so here.

Posted on August 8, 2019 at 8:34 pm
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Market Updates, Trends |

The “Hirst Decision”

Streamflow Restoration under Chapter 90.94 RCW WRIA 1 rulemaking – The “Hirst Decision”

Brief History-Here is how we got to this point
In 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court issued the “Hirst” decision which stated that Whatcom County failed to comply with the Growth Management Act requirements to protect water resources.

  • The decision limited landowners’ ability to get a building permit for a new home when the proposed source of water was a permit-exempt well.
  • 90.94 RCW (Streamflow Restoration) was passed in response to the Hirst Decision.
  • Since a plan was not adopted by February 1, 2019, which was the deadline, 90.94 RCW requires Ecology to undertake a rulemaking. Below is a synopsis of the proposed language.

Hirst “Fix”—Proposed Language

  • The basics of what they are proposing are as follows:
  • The fee for a permit exempt well will remain the same – $500
  • Rural homes with wells installed after January 19, 2018, are limited to 500 gallons per day for indoor domestic use and outdoor watering of a lawn and/or garden.
  • Metering is going to be considered as an enforcement tool, not at present, but in the future.

Please note – The Hirst Fix, developed with Ecology’s input, set the withdrawal limit for new permit-exempt wells at 3,000 gallons per day, now they are saying it will be 500. The average household in the hotter months uses just under 3,000 GPD according to studies. ~Info from WCAR Government Affairs

What You Can Do

  • There is still time for public comment before it closes on May 10, 2019. Below is information on how you can submit your comments.

What Comes Next

  • Comments will be reviewed and considered for incorporation in the rule proposal with a planned release in November 2019.
  • Public hearings will happen in early 2020 with a formal comment period on the language published in November of 2019.
  • The law requires that the adoption of a final rule amendment happen no later than August 1, 2020.

How to Comment

To provide comments to this preliminary draft documents, go to

You can also mail your comments to

Annie Sawabini
Department of Ecology Water Resources Program
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia WA 98504-7600

If you have questions, call or email

Kasey Cykler at 360.255.4386,

Annie Sawabini, Rulemaking Lead, 360.407.6878,

Posted on April 25, 2019 at 11:15 pm
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Community, Tracie's Thoughts |

Gardner Report: 2019 Economic and Housing Forecast

What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019.

The U.S. Economy

Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind.

Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now.

The U.S. Housing Market

Existing Home Sales

This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market. In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units.

Existing Home Prices

We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017. In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth.

New Home Sales

In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007.

That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long-term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers.

Mortgage Rates

In last year’s forecast, I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year conforming rates measured at 4.87% in November, and highly unlikely to breach the 5% barrier before the end of the year.

In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see periods of modest contraction or leveling. We will likely end the year with the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.7%, which means that 6% interest rates are more apt to be a 2020 story.

I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and ultimately, the return, that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track conforming loans quite closely.


There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.

That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued, does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.

Finally, if there is a big story for 2019, I believe it will be the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. While these buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the comeback and likely to purchase more homes next year than any other buyer demographic.

Originally published on Inman News.

Posted on January 6, 2019 at 1:34 am
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Market Updates |

Caring for your winter plants

Winters in many parts of Western Washington can easily see temperatures that dip down below freezing. For many gardening homeowners, this can be troublesome when precious plants are concerned. Covering your plants with sheets may not be enough to save a plant from succumbing to freezing temperatures. Check out these ways to bring your plants inside for winter:

Take Inventory of Plants
Unless you have planted exotic plants that are definitely not going to survive cold temperatures, there are probably more than a few plants within your yard that should be okay. Healthy native plants are used to the climate of your area and should be able to withstand the winter temperatures without any issue. Those plants that are better suited for a higher growing zone will need to be cared for in order to best survive the season. Consider every plant within your yard and access their health, maturity, and location in order to choose which plants to bring indoors.

Indoor Placement
Exotic plants love the sun and should be placed near southern facing windows that aren’t drafty or cold. Create a spot within your home that is far from drafts or cold breezes from open doors. Spread plastic sheeting to protect flooring and create a little greenhouse group of plants that will still receive plenty of sunlight. Refrain from placing plants too close together in order to allow for equal access to sunlight and air flow.

Container Issues
Many potted plants can easily be moved indoors without having to transplant them. Easily place potted plants in a group to ride out the winter season. In-ground plants within your landscape will need to be transplanted to a container in order to bring them indoors. Make sure that you consider the size of the plant and use a container that is big enough around for the root ball of the plant. Using a container that is much too large for a plant is better than one that is too small and could damage the plant’s root system.

Keep the Fan On
Many indoor plants enjoy being near a window but will also need adequate air circulation to prevent soggy soil conditions. It is a good idea to keep the ceiling fan on in the room, at a low speed, in order to keep the air moving within the room. Don’t place plants too close to heating vents in order to keep them from becoming too hot and overheated. Plants that produce browning leaves will need to be moved to a room with a humidifier in order to keep them in good condition as well.

Keep Pets Away
Many indoor plants can become curious items for an indoor pet. Make sure to keep pets away from plants in order to keep both safe. Some tropical plants are toxic for animals and some pets can prove damaging to plants. Create a barrier between plants and animals so that both are kept safe during the winter season.

Water & Dust
Keeping your plants watered indoors may look different than what it receives in an outdoor environment. Make sure to consider the plant before watering in order to keep it in soil that it prefers. Many winter climates will not see a lot of added water so choosing to water your indoor plants at a minimum will help mimic those conditions that it would receive outside.

Also, check the plants for accumulating dust that can easily be found after a few weeks indoors. Dust off plants on a regular basis in order to keep them healthy and able to absorb important nutrients. Use a wet cloth to gently wipe down leaves in order to keep dust free from indoor plants.

There are many things to consider when choosing to bring plants indoors for winter. Make sure to choose plants carefully and monitor their progress as the winter season wears on. Consider all of these tips for bringing your plants inside for winter in order to keep them from freezing outdoors.

Kelly Holland is a gardening and landscape design writer who loves experimenting in her kitchen. Her quirky nature loves a bright color palette so naturally, her coveted garden is covered in a rainbow of fruits, vegetable, and flowers.

Posted on December 6, 2018 at 12:10 am
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Community, Trends |

Kicks for Kids!

Remember what it felt like the last time you realized you had a hole in your ? Or even worse when your feet weren’t supported by the you’d had for way too long and your feet hurt?

It breaks my heart to think there are kiddos that wake up everyday and put shoes and/or socks on just like I described above. Feel the same way?

I have an opportunity for you to help make a big impact on one of our local communities this holiday season!
@windermerewhatcom is supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County and buying socks and shoes for Lynden Kiddos in need on December 12th and December 13th. I can’t wait to help a kiddo shop!

We’ll have our Kicks for Kids box in the Lynden Windermere lobby until December 11th. You can drop by a pair of new there or at any Windermere Whactcom Office and say they are for me. All socks will go to the Boys & Girls Club.

Thank you for helping me support this great cause!


Posted on December 2, 2018 at 12:28 am
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Community, Tracie's Thoughts |

Home Decor that Adds Value

Getting ready to put your home on the market or just want to give it a fresh look? You probably have heard that professional photos and video increase the chances of your home being seen online!

However, you’ve got to clean up your home a bit before we can get to the good stuff. It’s a daunting task, but decluttering and cleaning up will help attract the most buyers. Once you’ve said bye-bye to that clutter and have made your home look spruced up, you can go back in and add some decor that will accent what you already have and catch the eye of a potential buyer.

Here are some decor ideas that are current with today’s style and will add a touch of ‘wow factor’ to your Realtor’s marketing techniques.


Posted on November 6, 2018 at 5:58 pm
Tracie Gulit | Posted in DIY, Selling a Home, Trends |

Whatcom County Holiday Craft Fairs & Events

Holiday Craft Fairs & Events…

November 2 – 3:

  • Sarah’s What Knots Fall/Winter Bazaar!
    8am – 4pm 585 W Hemmi Rd, Bellingham
  • Holiday Bake Sale & Bazaar
    9 a.m. – 3 p.m. -401 Grover Street, Lynden, WA
    Lunch at noon, Friday $6

November 3rd –

  • Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair
    9am – 4pm 1400 Larabee Ave, Bellingham
  • Daughters of Norway 19th Annual: Scandinavian Fair
    10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 4260 Mitchel Way, Bellingham, WA
  • Assistance League: Yule Boutique
    9 a.m. – 3 p.m. – 2408 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA
  • 6th Annual Craft Bazaar & Bake Sale
    9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 1688 W. Bakerview Rd. Bellingham, WA
  • Community Fall Craft Fair
    10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 2750 McLeod Rd. Bellingham, WA
  • Trinkets & Treasures Holiday Craft Market
    9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 5830 Golden Eagle Dr., Ferndale, WA

November 10th

  • Lynden High School Craft Fair
    9am – 4pm
  • South Fork Winterfest
    10am – 4pm Van Zandt Community Hall
  • Wilson’s Holiday Home
    5-8pm. Wilson’s Furniture
  • Bellingham Covenant Church: Annual Holiday Bazaar
    9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 1530 E. Bakerview, Bellingham, WA
  • Share the Spirit Bazaar
    9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 495 E. Bakerview Rd. Bellingham, WA
    Beverages & Cinnamon Rolls 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Lunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • 4th Annual Kendall Holiday Bazaar
    10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 7547 Kendall Rd., Kendall, WA

November 11th

  • Holiday Bazaar
    11am – 4pm Blodel Donovan Park

November 15th – 17th

  • Home for the Holidays
    Nov. 15: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Nov. 16: 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    Nov. 17: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Ferndale Events Center, 5715 Barrett Rd, Ferndale, WA

November 16th – December 24th

  • Allied Arts: Festival of the Arts
    10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving Day, and closing at 3 p.m on Christmas Eve)
    1530 Cornwall, Ave., Bellingham, WA

November 17th

  • Christmas in the Woods Open House
    9am – 4pm Bellingham Garden Spot Nursery
  • Holiday Bazaar 2018
    9am – 3pm Hillcrest Church
  • Home for the Holidays
    9:30am – 5pm. Ferndale Events Center
  • Kendall Community Holiday Bazaar
    9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 7547 Kendall Rd., Kendall, WA

November 23rd

  • Fairhaven WinterFest Art Walk
    3 p.m. – 8 p.m. 1000 Harris Ave, Bellingham, WA

November 25th

  • Santa Pictures at Tracie’s Office (1894 Main St. Ferndale)
    12 – 3pm Open House Style 1894 Main St. Ferndale
  • Pioneer Meadows Montessori: Holiday Craft Market
    9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 2377 Douglas Rd. Ferndale, WA

November 30th

  • Christmas Bazaar
    9am – 4pm. Blaine Senior Center

December 1st

  • Ebenezer Christian School’s Annual Wreath & Bake Sale
    10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 1816 18th St., Lynden, WA

December 7-8, 8-10, 14-16, and 21-23

  • Pacific Arts Market
    10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 1125 E. Sunset Dr. Ste. 115, Bellingham, WA


Posted on November 1, 2018 at 6:11 pm
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Community, Tracie's Thoughts |

The Gardner Report: Q3 Market Snapshot

Whatcom County Real Estate Market Snapshot

As compared to Q2 average sale price dropped Year Over Year just under a percent but the average sales price in the 3rd quarter is up about $11,000 from quarter 2. List to sale time is right about the same and so is average price per square foot.

It’s always impressive to me to notice the different in total sales from the second to the third quarter- almost triple the amount of homes sell in the 3rd quarter than the 2nd!

Inventory is up about 60 homes from Q2 and, surprisingly, down almost 16% from Q3 last year.

Want the full report from Matthew Gardner? Download it here!


Posted on November 1, 2018 at 6:02 pm
Tracie Gulit | Posted in Market Updates |