Mid-Year Market Results

South Village was designed from the ground up to bring together two of Vermont’s most cherished traditions: open space and village living. New Home Sites available.

Summer is in full swing with high temperatures not felt since 2018. As the weather heated up, so did the real estate market after a short pause due to the Coronavirus. As the pandemic spread, Vermont Governor, Phil Scott, issued a “Stay At Home” order in late March. Real estate sales were on hold except for contracts already in the pipeline and ready to close. As the spigot was slowly turned back on, real estate showings resumed on April 20th with restrictions lifting weekly. The most recent change is flexibility in quarantining for out-of-state buyers – who were largely shut out of the Vermont market since March.

Single Family
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$306,500 +1.2% $343,202 -0.3%
878 -13.3%
1380 -21.1%
91 +12.4%
Condo
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$249,900 +4.1% $279,854 +4.1%300 -9.9%
401 -5.0%59 -25.3%
Single Family
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$316,700 0% $347,860 -1.9%500 -24.2%
848 -26%
85 +11.8%
Condo
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$249,000 +0.6% $276,673 +0.5%153 -30.1%217 -19%49 -38.8%

The height of the real estate market is typically in the spring, leading to closings in late spring and early summer. Therefore, we are providing additional data in this mid-year report. Typically, our report would present the statistics from January 1st – June 30th. However, we are including data from the 2nd quarter as well (April 1st- June 30th) to demonstrate the effect that the shutdown had on a market which started quite strong in 2020.

The pandemic has had a massive effect on the economy, but the housing market has not taken a major dive, unlike the Great Recession of 2008, which was largely driven by the housing sector. As sharp and quick as the decline in the market was – the recovery has been nearly as strong. Pent up demand of buyers ready for the spring market – wanting to benefit from historically low mortgage interest rates (briefly falling below 3% for the first time in 50 years)- has resulted in multiple offers on homes within days of hitting the market. Many homes are selling for well above list price – causing lenders, appraisers, buyers, sellers and even real estate agents to wonder where the “top” of the market will be. A real estate purchase or sale should be contemplated based upon your own needs and financial objectives. Attempting to “time” the market is simply impossible and will result in frustration and missed opportunities.

Other indications of strong demand include online search activity. Search traffic to HickokandBoardman.com remained strong, throughout the pandemic, with over 200,000 visits for property in Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties. Out-of-state traffic, perhaps driven by the desire to relocate to a more rural market, accounts for roughly 45% of overall traffic. We are seeing a significant increase in web traffic from prospective out-of-state buyers from Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia, New Jersey, and California.

Some Economists, nationally, caution that prices may fall later this year as the effects of unemployment and foreclosures weigh down the market. Homeowners, who opted to postpone mortgage and loan payments during the peak of the pandemic, are now receiving notices that their deferred payments are due. Locally, supply & demand may sustain price growth. Our area is not oversupplied, and the pipeline of new, affordably priced homes coming on the market is not enough to satisfy buyers. An experienced Chittenden County appraiser reported that he is factoring in an appreciation of 4-4.5% when calculating the market value of purchase and refinanced properties.

As we have reported for the past two years, a lack of inventory in homes for sale remains a challenge; decreasing over the past three months as sellers were hesitant to allow buyers inside. Seller confidence should improve as Vermont ranks top in the nation for management of the virus. With years of price growth in northwest Vermont and scheduled showings of well- qualified buyers rising dramatically (according to ShowingTime) – sellers can reap the benefits of their strong equity position. Getting on the market now is important to balance the real estate market.

Hunkering down in our homes has caused us to reflect on what we need for comfort and safety. Do we need a home office, more space for family, less indoor space and more outdoor living space? No doubt these discoveries will shape the direction of buyers, sellers and homeowners going forward. It has been reported that home improvement purchases have spiked during this pandemic – as many have the time and attention to devote to enhancements to living spaces. Never more than now, do we appreciate what home means to all of us.

Chittenden County’s Median Price Continues to Rise

Enjoy the best of both worlds in this lovely custom built home on 3 acres in Essex. You will love the charm, quality and custom features throughout. | MLS# 4816243

Our mid-year report includes data for the first 6 months of 2020, as well as data for the 2nd quarter of 2020 alone. We cannot analyze the trends in the northwest Vermont real estate market without understanding the effects of COVID-19 which struck Vermont in mid-March.

Single Family
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$360,000 +1.4% $420,483 +2.8%
467 -18.8%715 -22.1%56 0%
Condo
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$261,100 +6.6% $286,077 +4.0%272 -9.6%
353 -1.9%55 -27.6%
Single Family
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$376,000 +3.0% $427,373 +2.2%257 -32%
437 -26.1%
42 -20.8%
Condo
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$249,000 +0.6% $276,673 +0.5%153 -30.1%217 -19%49 -38.8%

The median sale price for single-family homes continued the year over year climb to $360,000; a 7.5% increase over the same period in 2018. Condominium pricing also rose while still providing a more affordable and low maintenance option for home buyers. Newly listed homes dropped 26% during the second quarter amidst the spread of COVID-19 – increasing the pressure on an already undersupplied market. Sellers, hesitant to open their homes to in-person showings yet motivated to keep their home listed for sale, worked with our marketing team to create video tours of their property.

Buyers acted quickly when the right property caught their eye resulting in only 42 days on the market (DOM) – the number of days from list to contract; the lowest we’ve seen in many years. In some key price points and locations, the “DOM” is in the single digits.

 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
Chittenden County Single-Family$360,000 1.40%467-18.80%715-22.10%56
Bolton$282,500 12.80%20.00%620%42
Buels Goren/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Burlington$347,000 -8.20%65-30.10%93-32.10%44
Charlotte$522,000 11.10%21-22.20%40-29.80%104
Colchester$363,500 2.80%67-1.50%89-26.50%50
Essex$339,950 3.30%70-21.40%102-20.30%40
Hinesburg$349,000 22.30%12-40.00%19-32.10%64
Huntington$325,500 -6.80%7-36.40%11-15.40%146
Jericho$385,000 -4.40%12-63.60%29-35.60%78
Milton$289,950 6.60%40-4.80%56-22.20%37
Richmond$350,000 15.70%1318.20%18-21.70%122
Shelburne$597,500 21.60%19-47.20%36-28.00%88
South Burlington$430,000 6.40%64-7.30%105-6.30%55
St. George$434,393 13.70%9350%1025.00%41
Underhill$326,500 20.60%928.60%21-19.20%66
Westford$314,900 14.50%13-7.10%180.00%75
Williston$397,000 -17.00%28-9.70%46-4.20%38
Winooski$266,750 15.50%16-20%16-40.70%46
 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
Chittenden County Condo$261,100 6.70%272-9.60%353-1.90%55
Bolton$126,500 -1.30%80.00%1067%48
Burlington$317,500 9.10%39-2.50%55-12.70%35
Colchester$246,000 12.20%37-7.50%434.90%98
Essex$214,500 -10.40%48-23.80%61-10.30%76
Hinesburg$286,500 5.40%1-66.70%n/an/a163
Jericho$430,316 130.20%566.70%6-25.00%32
Milton$241,000 3.90%1318.20%1741.70%46
Richmondn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Shelburne$475,000 15.30%1318.20%15-11.80%66
South Burlington$249,000 8.30%77-9.40%101-5.60%44
Williston$302,450 -7.40%20-28.60%28-3.50%20
Winooski$260,000 4.00%1137.50%17142.90%23

Buyers are attracted to the rural feel & affordable prices in Addison County

Contemporary home on 142 acres of woods & meadows with breathtaking views of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain. | MLS# 4808946

Our mid-year report includes data for the first 6 months of 2020, as well as data for the 2nd quarter of 2020 alone. We cannot analyze the trends in the northwest Vermont real estate market without understanding the effects of COVID-19 which struck Vermont in mid-March. 

Single Family
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$260,000 +2.7% $273,505 -4.7%127 -16.5%210 -27.8%147 +26.7%
Condo
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$229,900 +3.3% $231,967 +2.2%3 -70%
7 -56.3%25 -60.3%
Single Family
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$275,000 +5.8% $287,375 -4.8%75 -21.1%133 -33.5%
133 +22%
Condo
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$233,000 -5.9% $233,000 -11.1%2 -71.4%3 -72.7%28 -54.8%

Buyers are attracted to the more rural feel and affordable home prices in Addison County. While the median price of single-family homes jumped to $275,000 during the 2nd quarter, the median price has been fairly stable since 2018. Middlebury, Vergennes, Bristol and Ferrisburgh topped the list for the number of closed sales so far in 2020.

As travel restrictions for out of state buyers loosen, sales of homes, including lakefront property in Addison County, should recover. Historically, the area accounts for 12-15% of the luxury home sales in northwest Vermont.

 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
Addison County Single-Family$260,000 2.70%127-16.50%210-27.80%147
Addison$289,000 9.10%7-22.20%11-48%130
Bridport$80,000 -68.90%3-40.00%7-30.00%300
Bristol$225,000 -17.40%13-13.30%2717.40%104
Cornwall$310,000 -21.10%30.00%1066.70%104
Ferrisburgh$224,500 9.50%12-36.80%307.10%182
Goshen$270,000 160.30%1-66.70%n/an/a172
Granvillen/an/an/an/a3-25.00%
Hancock$100,000 -58.30%10.00%4-20.00%27
Leicester$95,500 -50.70%650.00%5-50.00%177
Lincoln$133,000 -30.60%3-50.00%6-53.90%173
Middlebury$285,500 5.70%24-20.00%33-37.70%146
Monkton$335,000 37.40%7-12.50%1614.30%53
New Haven$219,000 -35.60%30.00%912.50%149
Orwell$225,000 76.10%525%5-64.30%185
Panton$220,000 -61.80%3-57.10%2-77.80%94
Ripton$40,000 -80.00%1-80.00%525.00%61
Salisbury$255,000 -27.10%566.70%4-63.60%111
Shoreham$342,500 42.70%4-33%6-62.50%446
Starksboro$370,000 51.00%50.00%1137.50%110
Vergennes$271,000 23.20%1344.40%11-54.20%102
Waltham$279,000 100.70%30.00%1-66.70%101
Weybridge$271,000 -66.10%433.30%3-25.00%275
Whiting$118,000 n/a1n/a1n/a15

Franklin County fared well during the first half of 2020

This beautiful custom contemporary Cape with in-law suite offers everything you need and more on 21 Acres in Bakersfield. | MLS# 4817217

Our mid-year report includes data for the first 6 months of 2020, as well as data for the 2nd quarter of 2020 alone. We cannot analyze the trends in the northwest Vermont real estate market without understanding the effects of COVID-19 which struck Vermont in mid-March. 

Single Family
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$245,500 +9.1% $244,681 +6.3241 +6.2%357 -12.3%117 +14.7%
Condo
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$210,000 +11.1% $217,892 +9.6%25 +19.1%
41 -8.9%112 -16.4%
Single Family
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$257,000 +10.4% $251,980 +6.4%145 -2.7%218 -14.8%
117 +25.8%
Condo
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$243,250 +26.4% $240,075 +20.8%14 -6.7%23 -37.8%104 -35.4%

Franklin County fared well during the first half of 2020 despite the limitations caused by COVID-19. The affordability of homes and convenient location near I-89 make the county an excellent option for buyers. The number of units sold increased for single-family homes and condos during the period. This is likely a result of the availability of inventory and a median price $115k less than nearby Chittenden County.

The median price of single-family homes in Franklin County has increased by nearly 20% since 2018, but remains an affordable option for buyers and is good news for sellers who have increased equity in their home.

St. Albans and Swanton represent 42% of the sales closed in Franklin County, while Montgomery tops the county in median sale price at $310,000.

 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
Franklin County Single-Family$245,500 9.10%2416.20%357-12%117
Bakersfield$249,950 2.00%860.00%9-18.20%169
Berkshire$155,000 -13.20%3-25.00%6-33.30%167
Enosburg$208,000 5.10%1536.40%16-20.00%152
Fairfax$300,000 -2.00%23-4.20%417.90%64
Fairfield$263,000 -10.20%70.00%8-20.00%102
Fletcher$275,000 4.60%90.00%5-68.80%244
Franklin$310,500 98.70%8166.70%9-40.00%211
Georgia$283,500 -5.90%240.00%343.00%127
Highgate$218,000 3.80%21162.50%3233.30%65
Montgomery$310,000 108.10%50.00%166.70%120
Richford$111,450 19.50%10-28.60%16-40.70%254
Sheldon$234,950 48.70%6-25.00%13-43.50%66
St. Albans$244,500 11.50%61-13%992.10%86
Swanton$235,000 4.40%4117.10%53-23.20%115

Grand Isle County has been more adversely affected by COVID-19

Beautifully maintained 4 Bedroom Cape style home on 414 acres with 1717 Ft of Lakeshore. 3,014 square feet of open living space. | MLS# 4719852

Our mid-year report includes data for the first 6 months of 2020, as well as data for the 2nd quarter of 2020 alone. We cannot analyze the trends in the northwest Vermont real estate market without understanding the effects of COVID-19 which struck Vermont in mid-March. 

Single Family
January-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$236,000 -7.5% $261,921 -12.9%43 -27.1%98 -26.3%159 +6.0%
Single Family
April-June
    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$260,000 +1.0% $261,079 -17.5%23 -39.5%60 -39.4%194 +33.8%

The Grand Isle County real estate market has been more adversely affected by COVID-19 than the surrounding counties. With a large second home market, the restrictions on out-of-state travelers likely contributed to the 40% decline in home sales during Q2. The summer months are typically the height of the season for these island towns.

If more sellers list their homes for sale, after considering their individual circumstances, the demand from buyers seeking refuge and affordability can be met. The median and average sale price has fluctuated over the past three years as a result of the relatively small number of sales coupled with the purchase of luxury properties across the county. The changes in pricing are not a result of depreciation.

 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
Grand Isle County Single-Family$236,000 -7.50%43-27.10%98-26%159
Alburgh$200,000 35.10%13-31.60%23-48.90%181
Grand Isle$240,000 -21.30%12-29.40%22-12.00%172
Isle La Motte$186,000 -2.10%30.00%12-40.00%117
North Hero$302,500 23.80%8-33.30%25-10.70%157
South Hero$285,000 -18.00%7-12.50%166.70%116

The luxury market has been affected by economic conditions

Offering 135 feet of Lake Champlain water frontage with panoramic lake and mountain views in Colchester. | MLS# 4809250

The luxury market (defined in this report as residential sales priced $850,000 and greater) has been affected by economic conditions as well as out of state travel restrictions due to COVID-19. The number of sales declined by 48% over the same period last year and are slightly lower than 2018 levels. The median price increased by 8%, likely a result of the small number of sales as opposed to price appreciation. 

Luxury Homes
January-June
   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly ListedDays on Market:
$1,070,000 +8.1%
15 -48.3%69 +43.8%122 +1.7%
Luxury Homes
April-June
   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly ListedDays on Market:
$1,085,000 +8.3%8 -56%47 +56.7%95 -13.6%

14 of the 15 luxury home sales were in Chittenden County, with no luxury sales in Grand Isle County through June. Now that out of state buyers have more flexibility in traveling to Vermont (with home state quarantine allowed), we expect luxury sales in neighboring counties to increase. Nationally, the luxury market has slowed, but Vermont remains one of the most affordable luxury home markets in New England. With proximity to Boston and New York, plus an international airport, buyers able to work remotely while seeking safety from the crowds of more populated markets, and can find many options in northwest Vermont.

AddressTownCountySale Price
587 Ridgefield RoadShelburneChittenden$875,000
6659 Spear StreetCharlotteChittenden$880,000
193 Poor Farm RoadColchesterChittenden$885,000
2751 Thompson's Point RoadCharlotteChittenden$885,000
208 Meadowood DriveSouth BurlingtonChittenden$887,500
2687 Greenbush RoadCharlotteChittenden$890,000
119 Holmes RoadSouth BurlingtonChittenden$1,020,000
1816 Morgan Horse Farm RoadWeybridgeAddison$1,070,000
837 Bay RoadShelburneChittenden$1,150,000
209 Hills Point RoadCharlotteChittenden$1,165,000
347 Popple Dungeon RoadCharlotteChittenden$1,239,000
269 Thorpe Cove RoadCharlotteChittenden$1,550,000
233 Thorpe Cove RoadCharlotteChittenden$1,630,000
164 Pheasant Hill Ridge RoadShelburneChittenden$2,135,000
3735 Harbor RoadShelburneChittenden$4,950,000

More than ever, working with an agent experienced in Multi-Family Homes is crucial to meeting your goals

7-units in 2 buildings with parking in the heart of downtown Burlington. | MLS# 4816650

The investor market remains strong in northwest Vermont. The median sale price rose more than 14% across the region as the number of properties for sale plunged. This shortage of inventory resulted in a 20% drop in units sold. Buyers need to act quickly when the right property becomes available. The average days on the market (DOM) is less than three months from listing to contract with many properties selling within days, or even hours, of listing.  

 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
All Counties Multi-Family
January-June
$350,000 14.40%53-19.70%72-43%94
Chittenden County$413,750 6.10%36-16.30%42-46.80%82
Addison County$199,550 33.00%4300.00%7-41.70%157
Franklin County$173,000 30.60%13-40.90%22-31.30%107
Grand Isle Countyn/an/a0n/a1-66.70%n/a
 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
All Counties Multi-Family
April-June
$240,000 -20.00%19-55.80%39-43%96
Chittenden County$383,750 -1.60%80%5-44.40%190
Addison County$219,100 0.00%3-70.40%23-39.50%40
Franklin County$191,500 84.90%8-50.00%10-47.40%116
Grand Isle Countyn/an/an/an/a1-50.00%n/a

As the Coronavirus spread, businesses shut down and unemployment spiked. Many predicted that tenants might not be able to pay their rent. While this may have played out across the country, landlords in our area have reported that their tenants are up to date on rent. It has yet to be seen what the long term effects of unemployment (and under employment) coupled with the end of the additional $600 unemployment benefit will be for tenants and landlords alike.

Despite newer apartment complexes becoming available over the past couple of years, the vacancy rate for rentals remains low compared to the national average. Demand from renters remains strong due to the shortage of inventory for first-time buyers and the potential buyers moving to Vermont from out of state that may rent for a year to become familiar with the area.

So far in 2020, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman participated in 46% of multi-family property sales in northwest Vermont and 51% in Chittenden County. More than ever, working with an agent experienced in this unique market segment is crucial to meeting your goals.

Land sales declined during the start of 2020

Rare 8.5 acre building site with mountain and Lake views. Great Vergennes area location + permitted for 4 bedroom septic! | MLS# 4758005

After posting increased sales for the past few years, land sales declined during the start of 2020. There are plenty of options for purchasers looking to build their dream home. Although there is a longer turn around time and typically higher costs associated with building a home, buyers with time and resources may find this a viable option. 

 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
All Counties Land
January-June
$110,000 12.80%62-24.40%248-6.40%303
Chittenden County$200,000 65.00%21-4470.00%66-1750.00%279
Addison County$84,500 20.70%210.00%632120.00%326
Franklin County$48,000 -39.40%157.10%74-24.50%303
Grand Isle County$130,000 95.50%5-44.40%4528.60%305
 MEDIAN SALE PRICEVS 2019UNITS SOLDVS 2019NEWLY LISTEDVS 2019DAYS ON MARKET
All Counties Land
April-June
$110,000 12.80%62-24.40%248-6.40%303
Chittenden County$193,100 57.60%10-60.00%38-17.40%397
Addison County$120,000 84.60%110.00%336.50%307
Franklin County$48,000 -39.40%157.10%74-24.50%303
Grand Isle County$130,000 95.50%5-44.40%4528.60%305

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 

First Quarter Market Report

Our model home at South Village in South Burlington.
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$296,500 +2.4%
$338,089 +4.2%
374 +6%
529 -12.3%
99 +8.8%
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$257,600 +8.5% $283,475 +10.4%144 +26.3%184 +19.5%67 -14.1%

We cannot comment on the 1st quarter results without reflecting on the Coronavirus pandemic that arrived in the midst of it and will continue to impact us for the remainder of 2020. During the recent weeks, we have been reminded about the role HOME plays in our lives. We thank our state officials, health care providers, and all essential workers for the sacrifices and difficult decisions they continue to make to keep our community safe. 

Residential real estate transactions have a longer lead time than most consumer purchases. These transactions close, on average, 45-60 days from the time of contract. Therefore, results in this 1st quarter market report – with sales closed by March 31st – reflect business efforts from the 4th quarter of 2019 through January of this year.

The current public health crisis we find ourselves in is already resulting in an economic crisis. As the residual impact of COVID-19 begins to plateau, the question we are being asked is “what will the impact be on the real estate market?” We don’t have a crystal ball, however, John Burns Real Estate Consulting noted, “Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices) …. the current slowdown is playing out similarly thus far.” As of April 1, 2020, three of the major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs are calling for a V type recovery. They do reserve the option to change that prediction as things proceed.

The Great Recession of 2008 was driven largely by the housing sector. This is not the case today. In fact, the leading indicators regarding housing were sound at the onset of this necessary pause. Nationally, inventory levels were at a 3-month supply (vs. 8-month supply in 2007); most economists believe a 6-month supply is a balanced market. We have been in a sellers’ market for some time. Price appreciation has been steady and moderate. In addition, the equity position for most home owners is strong.

We cannot predict how long we will be sheltering in place or how deep the impact will be prior to working our way out of this. We do believe that this time, housing is poised to be part of the solution.

“Housing is a foundational element of every person’s well-being. And with nearly a fifth of US gross domestic product rooted in housing-related expenditures, it is also critical to the well-being of our broader economy,” as recently noted by Chris Herbert of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The fact that the Vermont housing sector enters this current recession underbuilt rather than overbuilt, coupled with continued historic low interest rates, positions housing to help lead our way out of this when the time comes.

In Northwest Vermont, the real estate market during the 1st quarter of 2020 was strong. The number of properties listed for sale continued to increase after years of decline. Buyer demand was strong amidst low interest rates and median prices were steadily growing. Governor Phil Scott issued a Stay At Home order on March 25th which effectively put the brakes on real estate services. Purchase contracts already in process faced some hurdles getting to closing. With safety and public health as a priority, attorneys and lenders adjusted their customary practices and closed real estate sales without parties present – via Power of Attorney. Buyers and Sellers in newer contracts, that had not worked through contingencies such as property inspections, have extended those contract deadlines when possible.

As of April 20th, the Governor is allowing limited in-person activities of no more than two people. Many buyers we have surveyed are remaining in the market. Detailed property photographs and video enable savvy buyers to make offers subject to inspections at such a time that is deemed safe. Our agents are advising clients to work with a local lender for an up to date mortgage pre-approval.

Sellers are using the time at home to prepare for market. Our Marketing Team is working closely with sellers to produce videos and strategically position their homes for optimal viewing by buyers. Our website, HickokandBoardman.com, has been visited by potential buyers across the country- notably from states effected early on by COVID-19. Vermont has long been considered a healthy and safe place to live. Particularly in the aftermath of a crisis, such as the events of 9/11, many residents of larger cities looked to Vermont to begin the next chapter in their lives. Recently, Conde Nast Traveler announced the 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards for the Friendliest Cities in the U.S., ranking Burlington 8th in the country – the only northern city on the list.

While working from home and conducting meetings via apps like Zoom may be new for many, our Agents have been effectively working remotely for several years. From using technology to share and sign contracts, to conducting showings and consultations via Facetime with out-of-state clients – we are well positioned to best serve our clients.

Never more than now, do we appreciate what HOME means to all of us. Stay safe and hold your family and friends close. We appreciate the relationships we share with all of you and together we will work to keep #VermontStrong.

We are All in this Together