2018 Mid-Year

This home, a seamless blend of classic & contemporary, is located in Beaver Creek, a desirable neighborhood in Shelburne. MLS# 4700591
Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$224,000 (-3.0%)$254,258 (-2.0%)353 (+12.4%)507 (+21.3%)72 (-21.3%)
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$227,500 (+3.4%)$256,259 (+4.0%)705 (-3.0%)798 (-3.0%)82 (+7.9%)

The Mid-Year point is an important milestone for real estate trends, especially in northwest Vermont. We are in the midst of the traditional “height of the market.” Closings on real estate sales surge in June, July, and August in between the school year, vacations, holidays – with new household formation and other life events that typically drive the market. Our Mid-Year report recaps the inventory and sales of property during the 1st six months – and provides a snapshot of trends we may see in the Fall of 2018.

The number of properties sold, across all categories including single family, condos, multi-family, land and luxury properties, in northwest Vermont increased over the 1st half of 2017. This positive trend reflects strong buyer demand and is a welcomed sign after a moderate, but long-term decline in unit sales. The median and average sale prices continued to rise for single family, multi-family and land sales. Single-family unit sales were up 2.1% over 2017 in the first half. Newly listed properties declined by 6.7%. While inventory levels are still at near record lows, the 2nd quarter showed some moderate improvement.

Condominiums remain a popular choice, often for ease of maintenance and affordability. Newly listed condominiums were up 21.3% year to date with 507 listings. This helped spur a 12.4% increase in sales in the first half of 2018. The median and average sale prices had slight declines at 3.0 and 2.0% respectively.

Days on market dropped to 99 days in the single-family market, down 4.8% from last year and condominiums declined by 21.3% to 72 days on market. Chittenden County is reflecting a 3 months supply on hand in single family and condominiums. A balanced market is considered 5-6 months supply.

Our Vermont market reflects the current national trend of low inventory levels. Lawrence Yun, Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, says a solid economy and job market should be generating a much stronger sales pace than what has been seen so far this year across the country.

Rising mortgage rates are also a factor. “This year we saw a move up in mortgage rates, from 4 to 4.5%, which increased the urgency of some buyers to purchase. Combined with limited inventory, a tight rental market, and an uptick in economic activity, we saw increased competition in the first time home buyer/affordable price range. Even with credit standards loosening to encourage more activity these other factors are stretching the budgets of some prospective buyers. Mortgage industry experts say that providing credit is not the problem but rather the current supply of housing not meeting the demand,” says Ranjit “Buddy “ Singh of Spruce Mortgage in Burlington.

Our sales associates have seen continued strong buyer demand, especially in price segments below $350,000. Often these buyers are facing competing offers made on new listings resulting in purchases above asking price, waived inspections, substantial deposits or even cash sales. Some sellers are identifying new properties prior to committing their property to sale and making the successful next purchase a contingency of the sale of their existing property. Timing and coordination are key, and your Realtor can be of great assistance in a tight market.

New housing development in our region, although limited, is a very welcome addition to our market and has given some relief in a few market segments. We expect the current market conditions to continue throughout the 2nd half of 2018.


Chittenden County Sees Continued Decline in Single-Family Homes for Sale

Enjoy beautiful from this 3-story Townhome on Burlington’s Waterfront. | MLS # 4707646

Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$332,000 (+4.1%) $371,886 (+5%)531 (-2.8%)854 (-5.7%)71 (-7.8%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$230,000 (-1.1%) $261,287 (-0.7%)317 (+13.2%)463 (+23.1%)62 (-36.1%)

Chittenden County as a whole posted moderate increases in the median and average sales price of single-family homes with the continued decline in newly listed homes affecting the closed sales.  

A number of cities and towns had well above-average increases in pricing including Burlington, Charlotte, Richmond, and Westford. The city of Winooski is a bright spot, as homeowners are attracted to its lively downtown, affordability, and proximity to Interstate 89 or Burlington. In Shelburne, the single home market is recovering; posting healthy increases in listings and sold homes after a weak first half in 2017.

The condominium market in Chittenden County remains healthy with a 13% increase in sales and a 23% increase in new listings. This available inventory has kept pricing stable – except where new construction projects are driving the inventory such as in South Burlington and Williston – which posted a 21% and 7% increase in median sales price over the same period in 2017.




Median Sale Prices Rise in Addison County

This 1820 Farmhouse is a magical mix of old and new in Bristol! MLS# 4699019

Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$255,000 (+15.9%)$268,211 (+5.86)46 (-13.2%)83 (-25.9%)186 (+33.8%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$159,240 (-16.6%) $193,177 (-26.4%)7 (-36.4%)12 (+71.4%)63 (-38.8%)

The growth in the median and average sold price continues in Addison County.

The number of homes sold during the 2nd quarter increased over the same period in 2017 – although year to date the sales are flat. The 23% decline on new listings has surely contributed to the lack of growth in home sales – as well as the price increases. Buyers are attracted to the quaint, Vermont feel and vibrant downtowns with restaurants, galleries and events in communities like Vergennes and Bristol. Middlebury, the largest town in Addison County – also posted the most closed sales as well as an 11% increase in median price – to $292,000.

Retirees and second homeowners alike are drawn to opportunities available in this college town. Elsewhere in the county, smaller rural communities posted healthy price increases – although these results are affected by the small number of transactions.




Franklin County Market Rebounds After Slow Start to the Year

Meticulous & well-maintained do not even begin to describe this 4 bedroom Colonial on .5 acre lot in the very desirable hill section of St. Albans. MLS# 4687255

Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$204,500 (+1%)$215,586 (+3%)264 (+16.8%)448 (+6.2%)111 (-5.9%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$175,000 (-15.4%)$192,169 (-10.4%)29 (+31.8%)31 (-3.1%)188 (+39.3%)

After a slow start to 2018, home sales in Franklin County rebounded during the 2nd quarter of 2018 – increasing nearly 17% over the first half of 2017.

With inventory for sale still at historic lows, the number of newly listed properties improved – providing new options for buyers searching for affordable living. Franklin County has the lowest median sale price among the four counties in northwest Vermont. Town by town the data varies. Fairfax, situated between Burlington and St. Albans, has the highest median sale price at $282,000 while St. Albans and Swanton had the most closed sales.



Warm Weather Should Bode Well for Grand Isle Sales this Summer

Delightful home in the heart of Grand Isle, featuring a large fenced yard, hardwood floors, sunny windows and enclosed back porch. MLS# 4705537

Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$201,700 (-3.7%)$308,180 (+19.2%)54 (-3.6%)134 (-25.1%)241 (+41.8%)

* No Sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Single Family homes sold in Grand Isle County show a slight decline (-4%) over the 1st six months of 2017 – however, this decline only translates to 2 home sales.

In our 2017 mid-year report, the number of closed sales had increased 24%; we can look at the change this year as an adjustment versus a decline in buyer interest. In all of the towns, except North Hero, there were healthy gains in the closed, median sale price. South Hero claims the highest median sale price in the county at $581,250. Two luxury, lakefront property sales in the town contributed to this jump – the highest median price in many years. Alburg and Grand Isle posted double-digit increases in closed sales over 2017 – despite a continued decline in properties available for purchase.

The warm summer should bode well for buyer interest across the county – as vacationers and potential second homeowners experience all that the small county of Grand Isle has to offer.




Luxury Sales Up over 30% over 2017 at the Mid-Year Point

Live in downtown Burlington with spectacular waterfront views, and keep your boat at the new Burlington Harbor Marina. Burlington Luxury Homes
Luxury Homes
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Days on Market:
$1,004,000 (+1.9%)$1,085,797 (-0.9%)17 (+30.8%)225

Buyer interest continues to improve in the Luxury* market across northwest Vermont.

17 properties closed during the first half of 2018 with 65% (or 11 homes) closing during the 2nd quarter. New listings are generating multiple showings and, in some cases, multiple offers. Lakefront properties have sold in all four counties – including Franklin County which has recorded 2 luxury sales in more than 3 years. Filling out the buyer demand are properties away from the lake with newer construction and amenities, privacy and views along with proximity to the greater Burlington area employers. The “days on market” – or the number of days from listing to closing – fluctuates wildly with a small data sampling. A number of the properties that sold during the 1st six months of the year were on the market for well below the 225 days in this report. With 106 properties available for purchase, buyers have many options when seeking a home in the range of $850,000 and higher.

* The Luxury market is defined as properties selling for $850,000 & above.

Multi Family Sales Soar With Robust Increases in Units Closed & Median Sale Prices

Great Victorian, well maintained, two unit home in quaint village of Bakersfield.Multi-Family Homes

Northwest Vermont
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$310,000 (+10.7%)$450,155 (+39.9%)78 (+36.8%)98 (-16.2%)109 (-0.9%)

Chittenden County
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$377,500 (+13.8%) $519,974 (+15.4%)107 (+23%)123 (-12.8%)72 (+4.6%)

Investors continue to show strong demand for multi – family properties especially in Chittenden County which accounts for 65% of the total units closed in northwest Vermont during the 1st six months of the year.

The number of properties listed during the time frame dropped more than 16% and, since 2015, the properties available has declined 38%. Limited inventory coupled with the demand pushed the median price of multi-family homes up 11% across the region and 13% in Chittenden County. A few high-priced sales in Burlington drove the average sale price up to more than $575,000. Despite the building of newer apartment complexes and a slight easing of the historically low vacancy rate – demand is still high from renters. Amenities included in the newer complexes are appealing to tenants – however, these units may come with higher rents. Therefore, investors seek out opportunities by purchasing more traditional, multi-family buildings or single-family properties in neighborhoods to meet the pent-up demand.

Vermont Land Sales See over 28% Boost Over 2017

Morning views to Mount Mansfield, evening sunsets with a hearty walk to the rear of the lot which is the height of this land. Land for Sale
Northwest Vermont
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$82,000 (-7.9%) $134,471 (+35.6%)95 (+28.4%)257 (-21.7%)271 (+11.5%)

Sales of land across northwest Vermont showed robust increases over the same period last year.

Addison County posted a 60% increase in land sales with a total of 32 parcels sold – equal to neighboring Chittenden County. With sellers looking to “right size” their home and take advantage of a “seller’s market” – many are turning to land purchases to build a custom home. Permitting, development and building costs can contribute to higher than average prices for the home when complete – however, the buyers benefit from new, energy efficient and lower maintenance options. Developers looking for land in key locations have also contributed to some on the increases.

The First-Time Home-buying Experience

The first-time homebuyers’ jubilance can be infectious. Everything is new, from the space surrounding them to their feelings inside.


“We’re so happy — very, very pleased,” says Amanda O’Brien, who, with her husband, Evan, recently purchased their first home in South Burlington, just off Dorset Street.

Like the O’Briens, Matt and Katie Campbell recently bought a home in South Burlington. “Everything about this house just fit all of our criteria,” says Matt Campbell, an insurance professional. “The price was right, and the neighborhood was excellent. The house is a great fit for us, and it allows us the extra space that our growing family needs. We love the cape style and the convenient location.”

The Campbells and the O’Briens are all in their thirties — the so-called “Millennials” — and their generation still accounts for the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S., at 26 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

In 2017, the share of first-time homebuyers was 34 percent — a slight dip from 35 percent in 2016. Overall, this bucks the historical norm of 40 percent of the market.

As first-time homebuyers, Millennials face challenges in the current housing market, where inventory is tight nationwide, causing the prices of homes to jump; and many Millennials carry unprecedented amounts of student debt, which can delay plans to buy a home.

In northwestern Vermont, though, opportunities exist to settle into that first home, but it’s vital to tap into a professional first, such as a knowledgeable and creative Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman (CBHB) agent, especially in the current market, according to the Campbells and O’Briens.

Matt Campbell had owned a home prior to the one that he and Katie bought together, so he knew about some the preparations necessary, but he and Katie still sought the advice of CBHB Agent, Michaela Quinlan. Katie and Michaela have known each other since childhood, and Matt grew up near Michaela’s father, in South Burlington.

“Michaela was excellent to work with, though we had a long prior relationship as friends,” Matt says. “She was the ultimate professional in dealing with us and really knew her stuff. I walked away from this experience holding her in higher regard for her professionalism and market knowledge, as well as her unquestioned support of her friends and clients.”

The Campbells knew what they wanted: four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two floors, a basement, and a decent-sized yard for their dogs and children: Dennis, who is 19 months old, and a daughter expected at the end of this June. They have been married for 2 1/2 years and together for five. Matt bought his previous home in 2009, after moving back to Vermont from Boston. He and Katie lived there together for three years.

“We started looking for our new home a full year prior, because I wanted to get a good handle on what the market was in the Burlington area and to be able to identify good opportunities,” Matt says. “With our growing family, we knew we would eventually need more space, and we had strict criteria on where we wanted to live, so when the right opportunity presented itself we wanted to feel confident in our decision and offer.”

The whole purchasing process took about 12 to 15 months, from the first search online to the closing date. The Campbells physically looked at 10-plus homes and viewed hundreds online. Matt saw “the one” (property) early on a Saturday morning, and they were in a multiple-offer situation by midweek — another common scenario in the current housing market.

The O’Briens also rose to the top of a multiple-offer situation. They saw their home listed late on a Friday afternoon. They toured it on Sunday. Multiple offers came in on Monday; the sellers made a decision by the end of that day, and the O’Briens closed on the property less than two months later, with the assistance of CBHB Agent, Betsy Forrester.

“Before beginning their home search, Amanda and Evan had met with a mortgage lender and had gotten a pre-approval, so they knew how much they were qualified to finance,” Forrester says. “As a couple, they had also discussed areas where they wanted to live and the style and type of home that suited them both, so we were able to start with more targeted search parameters.”

Be prepared: It’s the advice that Forrester, Quinlan and all our agents offer most to first-time homebuyers, who should look at their finances and meet with a mortgage lender to first determine a comfortable mortgage payment. Also, Forrester says, realize that finding a home involves compromise of the “must haves” and the “like to haves.” Finally, she and Quinlan say it is important to be patient, and not take the bidding process personally.

“Purchasing a home is a process, and sometimes it takes a while for everything to come together just right,” Forrester says.

The O’Briens rented before buying their first home, as did 73 percent of other first-time homebuyers in 2017, according to the NAR. Evan, who is an attorney, is a Manhattan native. He and Amanda, a Rutland native, met in college and had rented in pricy New York City before deciding it would be more cost-effective — and better to be closer to family — if they settled back in Vermont and bought a home.

They, too, had a checklist of “wants” and “needs” that is typical for first-time homebuyers in their generation: lots of efficiencies, little maintenance and renovation, and proximity to an urban area with several amenities. They started saving for a house and preparing for their purchase even before returning to Vermont.

“It made things quite a bit easier,” Evan says.

Forrester educates first-time homebuyers with no home maintenance experience — especially those that have rented first — to “look beyond the sparking new kitchen or Pottery Barn-style living room” and consider the overall structural quality of the home, from the roof to the furnace.

“If buyers are stretching to be able to afford a home and the roof needs imminent replacement, then they need to be prepared for that expense soon after purchase or move on to find a home that likely won’t need major repairs until further into the future,” Forrester says.

Younger generations are renting longer, even though renting is expensive, but buying a home is still a better long-term investment.

“Owning property is a forced savings account,” says Michaela Quinlan. “I work with a lot of millennials that have a hard time putting away money into a traditional savings account. When you pay your landlord, the money disappears. When you pay a mortgage, you are building equity that will be there for you in the future.”

Both the Campbells and the O’Briens tend to stay in their homes for several years, which is another growing trend in the current housing market: More people are staying put longer — about 10 years in their home, as opposed to the traditional average of seven.

“The work and life balance in Vermont seems to be more in line with what we want for our lives than more urban or metropolitan areas,” Matt Campbell says. “When comparing other options, it became clear that Vermont, and more specifically Chittenden County, is an excellent place to raise a family.”