New Whatcom County housing development welcomes first resident as construction continues

A new Whatcom County housing development will welcome its first resident this month as the project continues construction over the next couple of years.

The Church Hill Ranch neighborhood in Ferndale is expected to have 82 for-sale, single-family homes available in the development community when it is complete.

The development’s first homes are currently being completed and are expected to be ready for move-in this month. The community’s model home was completed in October.

“Right now we are starting two homes a month and will continue to do that until we see a change in the market. We don’t want to overbuild, and will try to match demand as we come into the spring,” said Robert Weston of Windermere Real Estate in a statement to The Bellingham Herald.

The entire development is expected to be complete in the next two or three years, depending on the market, Weston said.

Buyers have seven home models, each with two options, to choose from in the development. All of the homes are designed in a modern, craftsman style and range in cost from $599,000 to $750,000, Weston told The Herald.

Two homes have already been reserved for purchase and many more are available for pre-sale, according to Weston.

“There is definitely a need for single-family homes in Whatcom County and Ferndale,” Weston said. “The Bellingham market seems to have quite a bit of attached or townhome-style new construction available. Ferndale is a great opportunity to have a single-family home with some yard space and a community with nice amenities. We’re trying to build a wide variety of homes with sizes and styles that are well-priced but are built with quality standards and design.”

Church Hill Ranch will feature a new park for the community. Construction on the park is expected to begin in the late spring or early summer of 2024, depending on the weather. Two separate park areas will be improved with small playground features and other community-use spaces, according to Weston.

The community also features a natural open space area with walking trails that is already open and useable.

By 2044, Whatcom County is estimated to need almost 35,000 new housing units to meet growth demand. About 22,000 of those units, more than 60%, need to be classified as affordable, according to Blake Lyon, Bellingham’s director of planning & community development.

Washington needs to develop more than 1 million homes over the next two decades to keep up with population growth, according to the Washington State Department of Commerce. More than half of them need to be affordable for residents at the lowest income levels.