Mid-Year 2019 Market Report

Breathtaking from the moment you arrive, this 4 bedroom 3 bathroom Charlotte Colonial is captivating & comfortable both inside & out. MLS# 4763541
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$300,000 (+5.3%) $343,918 (+9.5%)1006 (+1.3%)1743 (+.8%)81 (-18.2%)
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$239,950 (+9.3%)$268,129 (+5.7%)330 (-7.6%)415 (-18.8%)80 (+11.1%)

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 and other life events that typically drive the market. In addition to single family and condominium sales – this report looks at results and trends in luxury & multi-family sales – as well as land sales throughout the region.

Low inventory continues to be the story in the national and local housing market. Properties coming on the market have been in short supply for a few years resulting in less sales, while demand remains strong. Steadfast price growth for homes in northwest Vermont is good news for sellers but has challenged some buyers trying to get into the market. Competition for properties under $400,000 may not let up for quite some time.

So far in 2019, first-time buyers only accounted for 31% of home sales – well below the historic market share of 40% according to the National Association of REALTORS. There remain several reasons first time buyers are struggling to get in the market: student debt, starter home inventory in short supply, and credit score requirements are tighter than historic norms.

Nationally & locally, new construction levels have failed to keep pace with population growth, shifting demographic preferences and the aging housing stock. Vermont has the second oldest housing stock in the country. Builders face challenges in land, permit and material costs, as well as shortages in labor. In some communities, neighbors are raising concerns about the loss of green space and wildlife habitats. Strong voices are needed for zoning and regulatory changes that many local governments are weighing as a way to increase housing density and improve affordability.

At a recent Burlington Housing Summit, the topic of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) added to existing homes was presented as an innovative way to tackle housing shortages. Fannie Mae is funding a pilot program in Denver to add ADU’s to low and middle income housing which will also generate extra income for homeowners. This type of infill housing helps support multi-generational living and allows aging homeowners to stay put longer since they can rent the ADU or primary residence to earn extra income and help with home maintenance. Zoning and permitting restrictions along with the cost of adding ADU’s needs to be considered if this to be a viable solution.

Homeowners are staying put longer. On average, homeowner tenure is 8-10 years vs. 5-7 years less than a decade ago. With rising home prices and tenure increasing, real estate wealth of homeowners is growing (total asset value minus outstanding mortgage). In many cases, the wealth held by older generations is transferring to first-time buyers. According to a recent NAR survey, first time savings counts (measured in 10 states) allowed “grandma” to make deposits, and 1/3 of first-time buyers had help from family members.

Throughout this report, you may see the terms “affordable or more affordable” used when describing a particular housing type or a particular city or town. Affordability is a relative term since Vermont – particularly northwest Vermont – is not, on average, as affordable as other parts of the country such as the midwest or south. The median price of homes in northwest Vermont, at $300,000, surpasses the national median price of $261,600. Coupled with high property taxes, the cost of living in Vermont may not be “affordable” for some. Having said that, for the purposes of this report we are comparing our markets and identifying properties and towns that may have a median price below other counties or the regional average.

Northwest Vermont Real Estate Market Share ChartDemographically, millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest US adult population – and they’re starting to buy homes. Statistically, they make up 45% of the home buying population. When the full buying potential of this population is realized – and the housing supply issue has been addressed, solid home sales growth should follow.

Buyers who are at a point in their life where they are ready and able to buy will find today’s prices coupled with low interest rates are an advantage over long term rentals.

Chittenden County has Seen an Increase Single-Family Homes for Sale

Enjoy rare privacy, and stunning lake and mountain views from this custom waterfront home in Burlington’s New North End. | MLS # 4765853
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$241,000 (+4.8%)$274,394 (-5.3%)298 (-7.2%)353 (-24.4%)77 (+26.2%)
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$355,000 (+4.1%) $408,691 (+9.8%)571 (+7.1%)914 (+6.5%)56 (-22.2%)

The number of single-family homes coming on the market has increased over the same period last year for the second consecutive quarter. While this is good news, the increase in supply still cannot meet the demand from buyers. Median and average sale prices, once again, posted increases pushing the levels to record highs.  

Price conscientious buyers, wanting to live in Chittenden County, might look outside of the greater Burlington area, where homes may be closer to their budget. Hinesburg, Underhill, Westford, and Milton offer median prices under the county average along with increases in the number of newly listed homes.

Condominiums offer a lower maintenance lifestyle than single family homes. In most towns in Chittenden County, the median condo price increased as inventory declined sharply. However, the prices are typically less than a single-family home of similar age and condition. New developments in Williston, Essex and South Burlington, over the past couple of years, increased the number of condos available for sale during those periods. As these new communities near the build out of existing phases, inventory numbers have fluctuated.

Hot spots – areas with increased median price and number of units sold include Burlington, Colchester, Jericho, Shelburne, and Williston. Winooski is still the “most affordable” town in Chittenden County with a median price of $281,500. However, continued demand from buyers, attracted to the vibrant downtown, has resulted in multiple offers on newly listed homes – many of them cash sales with few contingencies. The “Days On Market” (DOM) in Winooski is just over one month.

Adjustments reported in the number of sales and new listings in South Burlington is a result of a shift in inventory available in new developments such as Hillside at O’Brien Farm which launched in 2018 and has closed nearly 25 units – and the near completion of Phase 2 to permitting Phase 3 at South Village.

With few exceptions – homes are closing in less than 2 months from list date. Sellers must be prepared to act quickly when their property hits the market and offers come in. Working with your agent in advance to identify where you want to live and what your budget will allow is important in managing expectations. To realize the most value from the sale of your home, now is the time to start cleaning out your garage, basement and closets; and to complete deferred maintenance items while the weather is on your side.

 

 

 

 

Addison County Median Sales Price Saw a Nearly 7% Decrease Over Last Year

Enjoy Adirondack and lake views from this charming country cape on 10+ beautifully landscaped acres in Ferrisburgh. | MLS# 4763533
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$251,500 (-6.7%) $286,503 (+1%)150 (+7.1%)291 (+1.4%)117 (-8.6%)
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$222,500 (+39.7%) $226,950 (+7.5%)10 (+42.9%)16 (+33.3%)63 (0%)

Although the median price of single-family homes dropped by nearly 7%, this was compared to a 9% increase last year. The bright spot may be the slight increase in newly listed homes after months of sharp declines. With few condominium complexes throughout the county and therefore few sales, the increases in units and prices of sold properties need to be taken in context.

Buyers are drawn to the community amenities of towns that make up Addison County with their farm to table dining options, art galleries and shops – not to mention close proximity to Lake Champlain. Starksboro, Bristol, Monkton and Vergennes offer housing options for buyers working at nearby employers, like Collins Aerospace, or those who are comfortable with an easy commute to Burlington.

So that we can continue to best serve our customers and clients across the county, we opened our Real Estate Sales Center at 268 Main Street in Vergennes this spring. Many great events organized by The Vergennes Partnership such as colored lights on the Vergennes Falls each evening, City Band Concerts every Monday through the summer, or the Eat on the Green Food & Musical Festival in September – are just steps from our office. Stop by to say hello.

Franklin County Median Sale Prices, for Single-Family Homes, Saw Nearly 10% Increase Over Last Year

A custom home with award-winning energy efficiency and stunning views of Jay Peak in Enosburg. MLS# 4758512
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$225,000 (+9.8%)$230,137 (+6.8%)227 (-14.3%)405 (-9.8%)102 (-8.1%)
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$189,000 (+8%)$198,749 (+3.4%)21 (-27.6%)45 (+45.2%)134 (-28.7%)

 

Fueled by robust increases in the price of homes sold in St. Albans, Georgia and Fairfax – the median sale price for Franklin County rose to $225,000. Homeowners, considering the sale of their property may want to act now in order to optimize their gains.

The decline in the number of homes sold year to date may be more a factor of decreased inventory rather than a lack of demand. Countywide, sales take little more than 3 months from listing to closing.

Fairfax, within a comfortable commuting distance to employers to the north or south, has the highest median price in the county and remains a popular option among buyers. The lack of new homes coming to market affected the total number of sales. With “DOM – days on market” at only 70 days – homes were quickly purchased by ready and able buyers.

St. Albans and Swanton together account for nearly half of the sales in the county. The median sale price has increased in both cities helping push the county median up nearly 10%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Sales in The Champlain Islands Increased in the Second Quarter of 2019

This is an once in a lifetime opportunity to own an incomparable family compound on 1279 feet of lake frontage and 8.65 acres in South Hero. MLS# 4743290
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$252,500 (+27.9%)$300,047 (-1.7%)58 (+5.5%)133 (-2.2%)149 (-36.9%)
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$270,000$270,000 11114

Summer was late in arriving this year – but the sunny days and high temperatures we are experiencing now should bode well for Grand Isle County. This is the time of year when the islands “shine.”

While only a short drive south to Burlington or north to Canada, you will think you are at a summer destination much farther away like Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket! Similar to those locales, the natural confines of an island geography coupled with development and permitting restrictions naturally limit growth in the county.

The number of homes available for sale during the 2nd quarter has stabilized but is far from the 285 homes available in 2016. The median price of homes declines as your travel north from South Hero to Alburg and Isle la Motte. Not coincidentally, the number of homes sold increases as you travel north with the DOM (days on market) much more favorable up north as well.

Historically, the sale of a couple of high-end luxury homes in South Hero affects the data significantly and doesn’t necessarily mean that homes are depreciating or appreciating at that rate. Alburgh, the most affordable town in the islands, posted the greatest number of sales during the first half of this year.

A “once in a lifetime” lakefront compound has come to market in South Hero – the first time the property has been for sale in over 90 years. This unique property – surrounded by Lake Champlain on 3 sides – offers unparalleled privacy and a step back in time to a simpler summer experience. Offered at $4.9 million, the sale of the property will set a benchmark for prices in the county and northwest Vermont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury Homes See a Robust Increase Sales Over 2018

This spectacular Contemporary Craftsman home, in Shelburne, was carefully designed by renowned architect Marcel Beaudin to take in stunning views of Lake Champlain! | MLS# 4755150
Luxury Homes  
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Days on Market:
$990,000 (-1.4%)29 (+70.6%)120 (-46.7%)

Across the country, the luxury home market has stabilized with the median sale price remaining near $1.4 million. Nationally, analysts agree, the luxury market’s slowdown is related to world trade activities and geopolitics. Affluent investors coming from countries with political and financial uncertainty still find North America to be a highly desirable destination although demand is softening. Vermont’s housing market, in general, has not been impacted by foreign investors for good or bad. Locally, the sales of luxury homes* has continued to grow.

After an increase of 4% in total sales in 2018, the number of luxury homes sold in the first half of 2019 jumped 70.6%. The number of homes for sale during the same period dropped 15% over 2018 and dropped nearly 28% in 4 years- meaning the inventory of homes continues to be absorbed by the market. The DOM (days on market) for the Luxury homes sold so far in 2019 is only 120 days- or 4 months. Homes in need of renovation may stay on the market for considerably longer as today’s buyers search for turn key options to suit their lifestyle.

According to “The Report – State of Luxury 2019” published by Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, “preferences for tangible features of a home such as architecture and interior design vary from person to person, but the essence of what wealthy buyers seek in a luxury home is a sanctuary that promotes their security, serenity, and overall well-being—whether the property is a gated beachfront home, an urban pied-à-terre, or a working winery sprawled across hundreds of acres. Compared to other asset classes like stocks and bonds, high-end real estate is unique in that it provides not only an investment, but also security, comfort, and enjoyment as a place to live.” On a local scale, the luxury homes sold since January 2019 reflect these qualities – homes on Lake Champlain, properties close to downtown and country properties with views and acreage.

*Luxury is defined as homes sales at or above $850,000

 

 

 

 

 

A Strong Increase in Newly Listed Multi-Family Homes for Sale in 2019

This Duplex, in Vergennes, is a GREAT opportunity to live in one side and let your tenant in the other side pay your mortgage. MLS# 4759119
Northwest Vermont    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$306,000 (-1.3%)$371,786 (-17.1%)66 (-16.5%)126 (+26%)61 (-43.5%)
Chittenden County     
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$390,000 (+2.7%) $480,981 (-15.7%)43 (-17.3%)79 (+36.2%)55 (-35.3%)

Newly listed investment properties posted a healthy increase over the same period in 2018 – the highest in the past 3 years. Still, demand is strong with no sign of letting up as properties are closing in less than 2 months from listing.

Long term investors, interested in realizing their gains, are opting to part with portions of their portfolios contributing to the uptick in inventory levels. If the supply of newly listed properties continues on this trajectory, we should see stabilization or growth in sales for the remainder of 2019.

Investors that are new to the market – or first-time buyers who may be challenged with affordability in Chittenden County, may want to consider multi-family properties in cities to the north and south, like Vergennes or St. Albans. “Owner – occupying” part of the property while a tenant contributes to your mortgage payment is a great way to achieve your dream of home ownership and to build equity.

 

 

 

Land Sales See Mixed Results Across Northwest Vermont

This beautiful building lot just become available. Lovely mountain views, sunsets, pastoral setting & 31.7 acres of common land in Williston. | MLS# 4758527
Northwest Vermont    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$100,000 (+22%) $128,185 (-4.7%)80 (-15.8%)265 (+3.1%)280 (+3.3%)

While land sales have increased across northwest Vermont over the past 2 years, there is still plenty to choose from. Land prices vary greatly based upon location, permitting, and infrastructure. With a shortage of homes available for sale, the idea of buying land and building a home has been a solution for some. However, for many, the land, permitting and development costs combine to make new homes more expensive than older, existing home stock. 

Chittenden County posted the largest number of land sales with a 15.6% increase over 2018. Although Chittenden County’s median sales price – at $122,500 – is the highest in the region, available lots include a building lot in the New North End of Burlington to multiple acres in nearby communities with mountain views.

Franklin and Grand Isle Counties recorded healthy increases in new land listings coming on the market – providing many affordable options for the right buyer. Still, land owners can plan on a year, on average, for their property to sell.

 

The Rental Market in Chittenden County Continues to Evolve

The rental market in Chittenden County is evolving due to the continued construction of new units with higher-end finishes and amenities.

 

Rental Options are Increasing
The Allen, Brooks, and Minor June 2019 Report identified an anticipated 661 apartments to open in 2019. Assuming projects are completed on time, this year will be the second highest on record (behind 2016). The highest concentration of growth is expected to be in Burlington (217 units) and South Burlington (193 units). Together, these two communities account for 62% of the anticipated new apartment growth in 2019. Williston holds the third largest contribution at 96 anticipated units.

Low Vacancy Rates Make for a Tight Rental Market
With the completion of new construction projects, vacancy rates in Chittenden County have gradually decreased to 1.8% over the last 18 months – returning to rates seen in 2015 and 2016. With that said, the vacancy rate in Chittenden County continues to fall behind national averages near 4.8%. It is expected the rate will increase by the end of the year once the remaining anticipated 661 apartments become available to renters.

Adjustments in Current Aging Rental Options
New construction projects have provided tenants with welcomed amenities such as: central air conditioning, covered parking, secure storage, in-unit washers/dryers, fitness rooms, tennis courts, outdoor pools, and clubhouses. These newer units have led competing landlords to consider strategies for attracting and retaining tenants. Some landlords opt to invest in renovations to modernize aging properties in response to changing expectations from tenants.

Chittenden County Apartment Rental Rates
The below chart reflects rental rates in new multi-story buildings which opened in the last three years.

 

 

 

 

 

If you need help navigating the Chittenden County rental market, start the process at www.HickokandBoardman.com/vermont-rentals. Resources such as recommended websites to start your search, as well as up-to-date rental market information can all be invaluable to you during your search.

Wire Fraud Alert

The National Association of REALTORS is raising awareness of increased reports of wire fraud schemes that involve hackers stealing email addresses and sending fraudulent bank wiring instructions to various parties involved in a real estate transaction.

The cyber-criminal scheme takes on many variations, often tricking the unsuspecting user into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows the criminal to steal login, password, or other personal information. The criminal then uses the stolen information to send fraudulent wire instructions disguised to come from a professional you’re working with, including real estate agents, attorneys, lenders or consumers.

If you receive an email with wiring instructions, do not respond. Financial institutions advise that email is not a secure way to send your financial information. Here are a few ways to help protect yourself against wire fraud:

  • Never wire funds without personally speaking with the intended recipient of the wire to confirm the routing number and account number.
  • Verify that the contact information for the wire transfer recipient is legitimate. Call to verify the request using a phone number that has been independently obtained, not the phone number contained in the email containing the wiring instructions.
  • Never send personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers and credit card numbers, unless it is through secured/encrypted email or personal delivery to the intended recipient.
  • Take steps to secure the system you are using with your email account such as using strong passwords and secure WiFi.
  • Act immediately if you suspect that you have been victimized by wire fraud. Contact the Vermont FBI district office at 802-951-6725 or file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at bec.ic3.gov

 

This important notice is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer if you have any questions.