COVID-19 and the Spring Real Estate Market

The Vermont Market Report released on April 22 reflected a strong residential real estate market in Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties for the first quarter, January through March 2020. While newly listed single-family homes were down 12% putting a stress on inventory – buyer demand, fueled by low mortgage rates, continued to grow with a 6% increase in homes sold and a steady median price growth of 2.4% to $296,500, the report showed.

As we noted in the Vermont Market Report, results of closed sales through March 31, 2020 reflected business efforts from the 4th quarter of 2019 through January as transactions take an average of 45 – 60 days to close. See the full Q1 Vermont Market Report.

Governor Scott’s Stay at Home order on March 25th effectively put the brakes on real estate in April, the start of what is historically the busiest time in real estate. While 20% fewer homes (single-family and condominiums) closed during the month this number reflects properties put under contract in February and March, prior to the Stay at Home Order.

Market data for April 2020 will be a leading indicator of the impact COVID-19 has had on the real estate market in Northwest Vermont for the coming months. Newly listed residential property declined 45% across Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties resulting in 31% fewer homes for sale compared to a year ago. Another indicator of things to come is the number of properties put Under Contract during the month as those properties are likely due to close in May and June. Chittenden County, down 50%, felt the greatest impact of properties going under contract during the month of April. Since April 20th restrictions of property inspections, appraisals, and in-person showings were lifted following strict guidelines of the state and CDC. Agents have reported multiple offer situations as buyers and sellers regain confidence to continue their move.

County Apr-19Apr-20ChangeChange %
ChittendenFor Sale619433-186-30
Under Contract204102-102-50
New Listings222116-106-48%
Median Price $314,000 $326,250 $12,250 4
AddisonFor Sale259182-77-30
Under Contract3229-3-9
New Listings6331-32-51%
Median Price $260,950 $294,500 $33,550 13
FranklinFor Sale366264-102-28
Under Contract6340-23-37
New Listings7452-22-30%
Median Price $225,656 $250,000 $23,344 11
Grand IsleFor Sale14183-58-41
Under Contract126-6-50
New Listings2310-13-57%
Median Price $148,000 $208,000 $60,000 41
4 CountiesFor Sale1385962-423-31
Under Contract311177-134-43
New Listings382209-173-45%
Median Price $277,800 $295,000 $17,200 6
*Sales reported through the NEREN-MLS: Single family & condominium homes sold, April 2019 vs April 2020, Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, Grand Isle

In April, the median residential sale price across the 4 counties was up 6% to $295,000. “Northwest Vermont has been in a sellers’ market in many price points for some time,” says Leslee MacKenzie, President/Owner of Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman. “Unlike the Recession of 2008, driven largely by the housing sector, this current economic shock is driven by a public health crisis. The real estate market is better positioned in 2020 for a faster recovery. In addition, many homeowners have built positive equity since 2008- another leading indicator on how housing may fare as state and health officials navigate safe and measured ways to re-open the Vermont economy.”

Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman has been guiding Vermonters home since 1958. The company ranks among the top 50 Coldwell Banker Offices nationwide and was honored as a 2020 Best Places to Work in Vermont. The company has three offices: Burlington, Vergennes, and St Albans.