There are about 450 apartment units are either under construction or in the design/permit pipeline in Bellingham, way more than in the recent past. They are scattered in around town, and include the 112-unit Cornerstone building in Barkley Village, a 60-unit building near Depot Market Square and a 38-unit building on North State Street near Boulevard Park.
One reason for the rise of apartment construction is just supply and demand: A recent study shows a low vacancy rate in Whatcom County and falling, while rents continue to rise.
According to a survey from the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, Whatcom’s apartment vacancy rate was 1.7 percent, down from 2.2 percent a year earlier and monthly rent rose to $801, up $19 a month from a year ago, .
It could be partly due to an improving economy. Families that moved in together as a result of the recession to save money are now looking for separate dwellings. College grads that moved back in with their families while looking for work are now looking for their own apartments after finding a job.