In March 2005, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Bellingham one of the top retirement cities in the nation. The purchase price of homes has risen, but rent has remained relatively stable. Many of the condominiums recently built as a result of the demand for affordable housing have subsequently become rental units.
Bellingham has seen a resurgence of real estate development as house prices climb, caused in part by new residents moving into the community. In order to accommodate this growth, new properties have sprung up all over the city, including the Downtown, Fairhaven, Happy Valley, Cordata, and Barkley neighborhoods. The city has reiterated its commitment to developing a wide range of housing options for all income categories, while retaining the integrity of existing communities. Annexation of surrounding farmland and county wilderness has been kept to a minimum due to public concern for environmental preservation, but several controversies have risen over the city’s decisions to counteract the loss of land by allowing taller buildings in the city core, major new development on previously undeveloped land, and a lack of parks and open spaces in some of the more recently developed areas.