BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham is an increasingly popular place for Seattleites looking for an escape from high housing prices.

A new Redfin survey shows the Whatcom County city is now tied with Portland as the place people leaving Seattle are most interested in living.

"That doesn't surprise me," said Jack Hovenier, a realtor with Weichert Realty.

Hovenier says the northern migration is a continuing trend.

At around $440,000, the median price of a home in Bellingham is about the same as in Portland.

Realtor Rachel Oman said there is one major advantage Bellingham has over Portland.

"It's definitely the traffic," she said. "Driving around in Portland can easily be just as bad as Seattle."

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Commute times appear to be driving people north instead of south, and encouraging them to shift gears with how they work, as well.

"We're finding more and more folks working remotely," said Hovenier. "Perhaps they go to Seattle or Snohomish County one or two days a week but can work at home frequently. That makes Bellingham much more attractive."

No one expects Bellingham to become the next Portland, at least not anytime soon. But with so many Seattleites now looking north for relief from traffic and the high cost of living, perhaps the better question is, are Seattleites becoming the new Californians?

"I do worry about that a little bit," said Mary Gibb, who moved to Bellingham from Colorado 30 years ago and has no plans to leave, "but we're a very welcoming community."

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