Chittenden County Renters Feeling Squeezed

The county's vacancy rate is 1.7%, less than half of the national average.
Rents have increased 3.1% annually in the past decade.

Because of an extremely low vacancy rate and new hiring from companies including Keurig Green Mountain, renting an apartment or home in Chittenden County is often competitive.

The county’s vacancy rate stood at 1.7% in December, or less than half the national rate of 4.2%. Because of the tight vacancy rate, renters should plan to add extra time in their search for an apartment or home, especially when compared with regions with more available inventory.

The pace of hiring by local employers, ranging from technology companies such as to retailers like Trader Joe’s, has brought an influx of new professionals into Chittenden County. Our rental expert has found that about half of relocating professionals opt to rent before seeking a home purchase.

Rents are also competitive in Chittenden County, with the average price rising 3.1 percent annually since 2002, according to real estate consulting firm Allen & Brooks. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,155 last year.

Average wages in Chittenden County haven’t kept pace with the rise in rents, which means that renters are paying a higher share of their income toward housing costs than in many other parts of the country. Almost two-thirds of renters pay more than 30% of their income toward housing expenses.

Some less expensive neighborhoods, such as Burlington’s Old North End, are experiencing an increase in demand because of the affordability issues, Allen & Brooks notes. Other renters are seeking smaller apartments in newly constructed apartment buildings, because those studios and one-bedrooms may be more affordable than larger apartments in older homes.

Because our rental expert has extensive contacts with landlords, Realtors and associations, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty is well positioned to help clients navigate the rental market.