About 90 minutes north of Seattle, Bellingham has been gaining a lot of traction recently for its more affordable home prices and tranquil scenery. One popular destination for buyers is Sudden Valley.
Sudden Valley is an enormous master planned community on the western shore of Lake Whatcom – the second largest master planned community in the state and still growing! Homes there range in age from the early 1970s to brand new construction, and include just about every style and size from studio condos (selling as low as ~$200k) up to 3,000+ sq ft single family homes hitting the $1M mark. It seems there’s a home for everyone there, which is probably why 183 homes closed there in 2022.
It's not for everyone, as Sudden Valley is run by a homeowner’s association which means there are covenants and rules that homeowners have to follow, and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. That also means there are monthly HOA dues, which are pretty minimal compared to similar communities. But for residents that do decide to lay roots there, you’ll find a full 18-hole golf course, recreation center, sports courts, pools, trails, an off-leash dog park and lake access with moorage.
Aside from the HOA amenities, many buyers are drawn to Sudden Valley for its natural beauty. Home lots are covered in greenery and tree canopy, and it’s not at all uncommon to have deer wandering through your front yard at any time of day. With that comes HOA rules, like large restrictions on fencing (front yard fences in particular are rarely allowed, and even rear yard fencing can be difficult to get approval on) and restrictions on lot clearing.
If a buyer is unable to find the perfect home in Sudden Valley, they can always build one. 24 Lots were also sold in 2022, with prices ranging from as low as $10,000 to as high as $70,000. Of course, the HOA does have construction restrictions and requirements also, but due to the eclectic nature of the community, architectural restrictions aren’t too bad.
Of course, if you want to “try before you buy” you can always find a handful of Sudden Valley homes listed for rent on Airbnb or VRBO. The amenities of downtown Bellingham aren’t far off and include some top class restaurants and breweries to make for a perfect weekend getaway.