Housing Causes Mass Exodus

Housing Causes Mass Exodus

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Last year rentals in the Bellingham area skyrocketed in price up to $1 per square foot.  That’s $1500 a month for a 1500 square foot house.  Apartments skyrocketed to 75 cents per square foot.  That’s about three-quarters the price for the same square footage.  The reason for this skyrocket in rental prices was the large number of homes that were foreclosed upon.  Realtors gobbled up these homes and made up a new class of slumlords.  The worst property management companies are Windermere and Son-Rise Realty, but the other realtors are almost just as bad.  They go through ads on Craigslist and flag all of their competitors’ homes and employ other tactics to rent their homes.

From September to March those prices plummeted.  There were rentals priced as low as 50 cents per square foot all the way up until May 2016.  Many of the families and students who rented those places were in for a rude awakening when they were told their leases would be month-to-month and found themselves without homes when summer arrived.  That brings me to the title of my post.

The realtors and property management companies who are currently renting places in Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, and Lynden are now attempting to rent homes and apartments for monthly leases.  That’s one month at a time.  Each month your rent will change and they can terminate your lease abruptly and demand you move.  More than 3,000 students left the area and will not return this fall.  Not all of them graduated.  In fact, most of them didn’t.  They found more affordable housing and a better education elsewhere.

If you’re a business owner in the Bellingham area and your income drops precipitously, you have the realtors and property management companies in the area to blame.  When there isn’t affordable housing, people have no spending money. When people leave the area, they don’t come back.  I was sitting at a local restaurant for lunch today and happened to overhear a party of men arguing about why their stores had such declining sales.  Only two of them seemed to realize the decline was directly related to the mass exodus.

The good news is that many of the students who left didn’t pay their last month’s rent, so the ruthless slumlords who abruptly terminated their leases at least didn’t con them out of an extra month’s rent.  If you’re a student considering Western Washington University, you might want to go elsewhere.  It’s a quaint community but the costs associated with living here have gotten ridiculously high.  Can’t blame the Canadians for that.  Which brings me to my next point.  The Canadian dollar is weak against the U.S. dollar so they aren’t shopping here anymore either.  Karma.

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