Early 2019 Market Report

Functioning B&B with attached apartment, guest cottage, spacious barn, and ample storage. in Shelburne  MLS# 4733212
Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$293,000 (+5.8%)$325,542 (+3.3%)2,275 (-0.8%)3,098 (-2%)87 (-12.1%)
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$230,000 (+1%)$260,105 (+1.4%)752 (+6.5%)892 (+11.6%)70 (-15.7%)

Our early 2019 Market Report provides a recap of real estate sales throughout the four counties in northwest Vermont: Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle. In addition to residential real estate sales, we look at results and trends in luxury & multi family home sales – as well as land sales throughout the region.

Low inventory continues to be the story in the local and national housing market. Properties coming on the market for sale have been in short supply for a few years resulting in fewer closed sales while demand remains strong. Steadfast price growth for single and multi-family homes in northwest Vermont is good news for sellers – and has challenged some first-time home buyers who were caught in multiple offer scenarios in certain hot price points and locations.

2018 was a volatile year for the stock markets – with the DOW, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all ending the year lower than they started – the first time that has happened since 2008. Having said that, the markets spent most of 2018 climbing rather than falling- with never before seen heights. While the markets ended down -the overall economy soared. The economic expansion has been driven for years by historically low interest rates. After a several adjustments in 2018, the federal reserve is less eager to raise rates at the same pace and has already trimmed its forecast for expected rate hikes in 2019. Most experts project an average of 5.25% by the end of this year. While interest rates have risen slightly– they are still relatively low. And consumer spending is thriving. These are indications of a healthy economy for 2019 – even if not at the same pace as before. The federal government shut down has impacted the economy as well as the housing market – with furloughed government employees unable to provide a recent pay stub in order to prove current employment to mortgage lenders resulting in delays or cancellation of some home purchases. The full effect remains to be seen.

The overall trend in home sales has been positive since 2011 on a national and local level. In some larger markets across the country markets have begun to slow however Vermont benefits from relative stability with moderate growth year over year. The National Association of REALTORS’ Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, cites home price increases moderating in 2019. Tight inventory conditions remain an ongoing concern that will keep prices relatively elevated, but stable.

New construction projects may ease the shortage somewhat, but the need for affordable homes is not being met. Builders face challenges in land, permit and materials cost as well as shortages in labor which has been putting the price of new homes in the area well above $400,000. Some communities are challenging new developments, with neighbors raising concerns about the loss of green space and wildlife habitats. The quality of life that draws people to Vermont needs to be carefully balanced with the cost of living in our beautiful state.

Millennials make up to 45% of the home buyer market and affordability is a factor. Heavy student loan debt and changing interest rates affect purchase power. For a $300,000 loan – a 1% increase in interest rate equates to an additional $178 per month to the mortgage payment. Working with a local lender – with a common-sense approach to underwriting – will benefit purchasers navigating this market. With most home buyers purchasing property for lifestyle reasons, many are quick to recognize that buying a home is a way to build wealth in the long run.

2019 will remain a Seller’s market in most of the region, with a true “buyer’s market” not on the immediate horizon due to limited inventory, increasing prices and interest rates. Buyers should not stay away from the housing market especially if they are at point in their life where they are ready and able to buy. Buyers who have watched from the sideline and now fear missing out on their dream of home ownership – or risk facing higher finance costs to do so – should act now! They may face less competition early in the season and sellers may still realize a gain on their home sale. This should be a cue for potential sellers to enter the market early in 2019 – rather than waiting for the typical height of the market in the Spring.

Buyers and sellers alike should have these best practices in mind: identify your wants and needs, learn about the market, form reasonable expectations, perform your due diligence, and be prepared to act – with the assistance of a skilled and trusted Realtor.

Limited home inventory made for a tight market in 2018

Milton contemporary Colonial including 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths & finished basement that walks out to the enclosed in-ground pool. | MLS # 4731539
Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$339,900 (+5.6%)$381,006 (+3.6%)1,236 (-1.8%)1,534(-3%)62 (-13.9%)
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$235,000 (+1.3%)$266,079 (+2.4%)670 (+4.2%)803 (+12.5%)58 (-2.8%)

Limited homes for sale continue to be the story across Chittenden County. With new listings to the market declining 3% over 2018 – units sold also dropped. This resulted in a median price increase of 5.6% for single family homes. 

The number of Condominiums available for purchase showed a healthy increase as some owners took advantage of a seller’s market and sold their entry level condos in order to move up to a larger home. Builders introduced new condominiums & townhouses to the market, offering easy maintenance and the “right size” floorplan for new families and empty nesters.

In South Burlington, Hillside at O’Brien Farm launched in March with 12 single family and townhomes closed and many more reserved or under construction. South Village, off of Spear Street, looks to finish the build out of phase 2 in 2019 – and possibly offer homes in phase 3 subject to permits.

Winooski continues to draw buyers with a revitalized downtown & walkability to restaurants, shopping and recreation. Multiple offers on single family homes from excited buyers pushed the median price up 18% – nearly the largest increase across the county. A number of resales in the Cascades Building along the Winooski River resulted in a 44% surge in the median price of condominiums in the city.

Multi Family properties were in high demand while inventory was extremely tight. Investors need to move quickly when a property becomes available.







Addison County homes sales remained stable in 2018

Enjoy the advantages of year-round lakeside living: tranquility, natural beauty, sunsets, and easy access to the water in FerrisburghMLS# 4840310
Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$268,500 (+3.3%)$296,818 (+3.7%)348 (-0.9%)510 (-5.9%)113 (-19.3%)
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$209,000 (+7.5%)$223,614 (-9.1%)17 (-19.1%)24 (+26.3%)62 (+5.1%)

The number of single-family homes sold in 2018 remained stable while new listed properties declined. This resulted in a slight uptick in the median sale price. Condominium sales are minimal in this county – a total of 17 sales in 2018 – therefore statistics can be affected by a slight a change.

Buyers are attracted to the relative affordability compared to neighboring Chittenden County – along with the quaint Vermont feel of restaurants, galleries and small shops that make up the downtowns of many of the towns in Addison County.

Topping the list of closed sales in the county were Middlebury, Bristol, Ferrisburgh, Monkton and Vergennes. Construction in downtown Middlebury through 2019 may be a factor in the market, however Middlebury College will always be a strong draw.

Sales in Vergennes increased by 18% possibly affected by a 14% increase in homes available for purchase. Starksboro is an appealing option for home buyers with an affordable option median price of $238,750.

New Haven posted one of the highest increases in median price – at $333,000 a 42% increase over 2017. This increase is a result of an increase in the number of units sold – which rose by 50%. Median price is defined as the sale price of the property in the middle of the roster of sold properties – therefore a jump from 10-15 units sold will push the median price up while not necessarily equating to an appreciation in overall home values.

More Homes Available in Franklin County in 2018

Quintessential Vermont Farmhouse with 32.6 acres, 3 bedroom, 3,460 sq. feet of living, and a 40×80 Barn in Richford. MLS# 4728097
Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$208,950 (-2.8%)$216,706 (+0.7%)558 (+5.1%)796 (1.4%)104 (-14.1%)
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$187,498 (-4.6%)$207,275 (+0.1%)64 (+60%)64 (+1.6%)205 (+61.4%)

The number of properties coming on the market in 2018 stabilized after declining for a few years. This was good news for buyers seeking affordable home ownership options. Franklin County, with a median price of under $209,000, is the most affordable in northwest Vermont.

Town by town data varies widely with median prices and sales fluctuating based upon proximity to interstate 89, Lake Champlain or second home areas.

Georgia and Fairfax posted the highest median sale prices of $280,000 and $286,000 respectively. A nearly 17% increase in new homes to the market in Fairfax helped push unit sales up by 6.8%. With proximity to both Burlington and St. Albans, both towns are popular options for families.







Strong luxury home sales drive average sale price higher in 2018

Escape everyday or just on holidays to this whimsical 3 bedroom Contemporary with soaring ceilings, loads of glass and lake views in South Hero MLS# 4729791

Single Family
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$244,900 (-2%)$341,883 (+14.9%)133 (-13.1%)258 (+1.6%)169 (+9%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$244,900 (-2%)$259,000 (+0.4%)1 (-50%)1 (-66.7%)78 (+52.9%)

A number of high priced, luxury home sales throughout Grand Isle County drove the average sale price up nearly 15%. Savvy buyers seek the county’s access to Lake Champlain, Interstate 89 – and substantially lower property taxes than luxury, lakefront homes to the south.

The number of homes coming on the market in 2018 rose slightly – but with a decline of 13% in total units sold – the median sale price dropped. After 2 years of increased sales, 2018 could be viewed as a stabilizing of the market.

The natural confines of an island geography coupled with development and permitting restrictions will naturally limit growth in the county. With the smallest number of sales and inventory available throughout the 4 counties in this report, Grand Isle statistics can vary widely from season to season.







The investor market heats up in 2018

8-Unit Apartment building in the heart of downtown Brlington with parking plus 3 bedroom, 1 bedroom and studio rentalsMulti-Family Homes
Northwest Vermont
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$324,400 (+13.8%) $423,239 (+17.9%)156 (+19.1%)201 (-11.1%)95 (+2.2%)
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%)

The super-hot investor market shows no sign of letting up as the number of properties sold increased by 19% while inventory remained scarce. Low supply and heavy demand pushed the median sale price up nearly 14% across the market.

Chittenden County, accounting for 68% of the total multi family sales in northwest VT, saw an average sale price of almost $520,000 – driven by some high-priced sales in Burlington. Some long-time investor owners are deciding to part with portions of their portfolio to realize price gains – while new investors to the market need to be well qualified and ready to act if an opportunity presents itself.

Despite newer apartment complexes becoming available over the last couple of years- and a number of new projects on the horizon – the vacancy rate for rentals remains low as compared to the national average. Demand from renters remains strong likely due to the shortage in inventory for first time home buyers – and the demand of college students in downtown Burlington. Positive job growth in Chittenden County also contributes to the strong demand.

Land showed a healthy increase in 2018

Nice, open level lot with Adirondack Mountain views in a great location close to South Burlington/Shelburne town line. MLS# 4714389
Northwest Vermont
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$88,000 (0%)$150,130 (+36.7%)203 (+7.4%)463 (-19.3%)289 (+1.4%)

Land sales across northwest Vermont showed a healthy increase over 2017. With inventory of homes for sale declining year over year coupled with a strong seller’s market – many buyers are turning to land purchases to build a custom home. 

Addison County closed nearly the same number of land sales as Chittenden County – but at a more affordable median price of $70,000.

With an increase in sales and a decline in new land listings to the market, parcels that have been for sale for an extended period of time are being absorbed. Developers are looking for land in key locations to satisfy the demand from potential homeowners looking to down size or right size their lifestyle.

Still, land owners can plan on nearly a year, on average, for a property to sell.


Luxury Homes Sales increase 4% over 2017

Enjoy the spectacular views from this sun-filled architectural designed home with 177 feet of sandy beach in Colchester.
Luxury Homes
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:
$1,064,000 (+4.4%) $1,169,089 (-2%)48 (+4%)

Luxury Home sales in Northwest Vermont have continued to increase over previous years. While 2 additional properties sold in 2018, there has been an overall increase of 71% in units sold since 2015. The median sale price increased by 4.4% with the average sale price declining for the second year in a row. 

Nationally, the luxury market has slowed a bit but Vermont remains one of the most affordable luxury home markets in New England – which may be bolstering sales here. Local lenders report that Jumbo loans remain remarkably competitive offering favorable options for the cash buyer.

The months supply of luxury homes for sale has declined over prior years – which is good. While supply varies seasonally, it was at a low of 10 months and an average of 13-14 months during 2018; still a buyers market. Having said that, a number of homes that sold in 2018 went under contract within a few days – demonstrating there are buyers looking for homes with updated floor plans and amenities.

In Chittenden County, where 29 luxury sales were closed, buyers purchased homes in downtown Burlington, on spacious lots with views in Shelburne, along the popular Spear Street in South Burlington as well as on the Lake Champlain shore.

Grand Isle proved a draw for luxury buyers with 10 homes closing in 2018 versus 3 in 2017. The lower tax burden in Grand Isle is a contributing factor although the easy drive to Burlington coupled with the island vacation vibe likely contribute to the overall appeal.

*For this report, the Luxury market is defined as Residential sales $850,000 and above.