Market Update, 1st Quarter 2023

As spring arrives in Vermont, along with the historical start of the busy real estate market, we are taking a close look at the 1st quarter results to provide buyers and sellers with valuable insights to make informed decisions. The housing market in northwest Vermont continues to be robust with strong demand and low inventory. Home prices have been increasing steadily, and multiple offers are still common. The median sale price for a single-family home in the region has increased by 8% to $400,000 compared to the same period last year. The number of homes sold declined by 20%, a result of the 15% decrease in new homes listed during the period – not a lack of demand.

The current higher mortgage interest rates have had an impact on the housing market. As interest rates increase, it becomes more expensive for buyers to finance a home purchase, which can reduce demand and slow down sales. However, the impact of higher interest rates can be mitigated by factors such as strong economic growth, high employment rates, and most notably a shortage of available housing inventory. It appears that many buyers have adjusted to the higher mortgage interest rates and are remaining in the market.

Despite these positive trends, the lack of available housing inventory has been a challenge for both buyers and sellers alike. Many homeowners have opted to stay put until they find a new home in the region or out-of-state, which has further constrained the market, leading to higher prices and competition among buyers. It is important to keep in mind that historically, the first quarter of the year tends to be the smallest in terms of listing and real estate sales volume. Statistically, increases and decreases can be affected by a few changes in the product mix. The next 6 months will be a more accurate benchmark of market trends. Overall, the housing market in northwest Vermont is showing no signs of slowing down, and it will be interesting to see how the market continues to evolve throughout the rest of the year.

Median Home Sales Prices by Vermont CountyOur agents have been closely monitoring the current housing market and have observed some interesting trends. Despite the challenges posed by the shortage of available inventory and higher prices, most of our agents (70%) have reported that they have the same or more buyers looking for homes than before. This is a testament to the continued strength of demand in our market areas. However, with so many buyers competing for limited inventory, nearly 90% of offers have been in multiple offer situations, making it increasingly difficult for buyers to secure a property.

Despite this, some buyers are still including inspections and financing contingencies in their offers, indicating that they are taking a more measured approach to their purchases. On the seller side, we have seen that most trust their agent’s advice on current market conditions and are readying their homes for the spring selling season. However, it is worth noting that many sellers are challenged when searching for a new home to move to, whether in Vermont or across the country. Finally, most of our agents report an increase in the pace of the market in the past month, which suggests that buyers and sellers alike need to be ready to act when the right opportunity presents itself.