COVID-19 Vermont Real Estate Market Update Through May 31st

April Market Update  | Q1 Market Update

The real estate market in northwest Vermont is recovering after the necessary shut down due to Covid-19. The stay at home order went into effect on March 25th with restricted showings beginning again in late April.

Market data for April was an indicator of what we did see in May. New listings in April declined 45% and pending contracts declined nearly 50%. As a result, a steep decline in closed sales followed in May. Real estate transactions typically take 45-60 days to close – therefore the restricted activity in late March and April is seen in May numbers. Although new listings in May declined over the same period last year, it is an improvement over April. And June appears on par with 2019. While the May numbers show a slight decline in the median price of homes sold, this is more a reflection of the smaller number of sales during that period than it is of a decline in value. In recent weeks, we have a seen an increase in sales in the upper end of the market – which was paused during the uncertainty in March and April.

Buyer demand remained strong through the shut down and has only increased in May and June. In Chittenden County the number of properties going “under contract” in May was the same as a year before despite dramatically less inventory to choose from. Agents are reporting multiple offers on new listings coming to market. So, buyers need to be prepared with a strong qualification from their lender and expert advice from their REALTOR if they want to purchase a home this summer.

County May-19May-20Change %
ChittendenFor Sale723548-24%
Under Contract2362360%
Sold200101-50%
New Listings310228-26%
Median Price330950318400-4%
AddisonFor Sale311196-37%
Under Contract6148-21%
Sold3818-53%
New Listings8844-50%
Median Price255000234500-8%
FranklinFor Sale400310-23%
Under Contract8410120%
Sold5848-17%
New Listings10886-20%
Median Price2285002452507%
Grand IsleFor Sale172103-40%
Under Contract2114-33%
Sold176-65%
New Listings4724-49%
Median Price244900198500-19%
4 CountiesFor Sale16061157-28%
Under Contract402399-1%
Sold313173-45%
New Listings553382-31%
Median Price294500287000-3%

The local media has reported that REALTORS across Vermont are seeing an increase in inquiries from out-of-state buyers. Presumably, these potential buyers are looking toward Vermont to seek refuge from their city homes. With a 14 day, mandatory quarantine still in effect for out-of-state travelers to Vermont, real estate sales in resort communities across the state report are largely on hold with the exception of a few buyers who will consider a “sight unseen” purchase.

Locally, our agents report that most buyers from outside of Vermont are relocating here for a job. They, too, are on hold until the mandatory quarantine is eased. With more than half of Americans working from home because of the coronavirus, and many companies saying they will be more flexible with remote options going forward, rural and suburban locales are more and more desirable. According to a Zillow survey conducted by Harris Poll, “Among Americans working from home because of the pandemic, 75 percent said they would prefer to continue to do so at least half the time, if given the option, after the pandemic subsides. And two-thirds (66%) of those employees said they would be at least somewhat likely to consider moving if they had the flexibility to work from home as often as they want.” Buyers said that they would consider a longer commute (current low gas prices certainly help) if they only have to go to a physical office a couple of times per week. In northwest Vermont, properties outside of the greater Burlington area – in neighboring Franklin and Addison Counties – have long been more affordable. With larger lots and more “home” for their money, buyers are attracted to communities that offer amenities to enhance their lifestyles. In May, the number of properties that went “under contract” in Franklin County increased by 20% over 2019 – likely helped by the inventory level and median sales price.

As June heats up, and we get back into the traditional “peak” of the real estate market – we are optimistic that inventory and sales will meet or exceed 2019 as the safety and value of owning a home remain a priority to Vermonters.

Resources for Out-Of-State Travelers