Historically, the first 3 months of the year represent the slowest period for sales. With a smaller number of sales, data within this report can be affected in a positive or negative direction without truly representing a trend in the market.
Our skilled Realtors® can provide you with a more in-depth analysis on specific price points in towns and neighborhoods. Given our market leading position, we are prepared to provide unparalleled service to our clients.
The same market dynamics that we have reported over the past 2-3 years continue to play out in northwest Vermont. Shrinking inventory of homes for sale and pent up buyer demand have resulted in an increase in median and average sale prices across most market segments. Mortgage interest rates have declined recently after an uptick during 2018, keeping buyers in the market and willing to pay more for updated homes. With limited cash available for renovations, buyers are willing to take on a higher mortgage payment for homes with renovated kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and other amenities. Sellers may want to take advantage of this opportune time to list their home while demand is strong.
Newly listed single-family homes showed a slight uptick over the same period last year while condo listings declined. .
New developments throughout the county, which include condominiums, may be affecting the flow of inventory year over year. Residential sales were relatively flat while median and average sale prices rose during the 1st quarter. Buyer demand is still strong for well positioned properties coming to market – as demonstrated by the average days on market (DOM) of just over 2 months.
Inventory of homes has stabilized – even posting a slight increase in early 2019. Single home sales increased while median and average sale prices declined.
Due to the relatively low number of transactions during the 1st quarter, it may be too early to draw conclusions. Addison County continues to draw buyers who may be working in Chittenden County – but see affordability and quality of life in Addison as desirable.
While the number of units sold in Franklin County declined during the 1st quarter, the median and average sale prices increased.
Inventory tightened a bit with new properties coming to market declining. The harsh winter and traditionally slow months of the year may not provide enough data to determine trends that will be seen in Franklin County during 2019.
The 1st quarter shows a healthy increase in the number of homes sold in 2019 versus the same period last year, however this is compared to a sharp decline during the 1st quarter of 2018.
The Average Days of Market (DOM) from listing to closing has dropped to 158 days – or just over 5 months. While this is the longest days on market out of the 4 counties in the report, desirable and well-priced homes are selling in considerably less time than average.
Historically, the strength of the market in Grand Isle County is during the spring and summer months. A preponderance of second homes has a clear impact on the sales cycles. Activity in the next 2 – 3 months will dictate what the 2019 market has in store for the county.
The 1st quarter of 2019 was strong for luxury sales. Chittenden County posted 10 of the 11 sales recorded in Northwest Vermont. As we have reported over the past 2 years, sales of higher-end properties are no longer confined to lakefront.
Buyers are attracted to amenities, proximity to the greater Burlington area or landmark homes that can be updated to suit their lifestyle. The Luxury Market in northwest Vermont continues to meander along being not too hot and not too slow – but “just right” for properties that are well priced and well-conditioned. As the weather starts to warm, interest in properties along Lake Champlain will increase. This market segment is typically not as urgent as the traditional primary residence market which is driven by job relocations, changes in family structure, or migration toward neighborhoods and school districts. Buyers may take their time searching for the right property – or decide to make a purchase because an extraordinary opportunity becomes available. Life events – such as the desire or need to downsize or lack of use of a property drive sellers to the market. Whatever your drivers, our Realtors® can help you assess your individual situation in the current market.
*For this report, the Luxury market is defined as Residential sales $850,000 and above.
Our early 2019 Market Report provides a recap of real estate sales throughout the four counties in northwest Vermont: Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle. In addition to residential real estate sales, we look at results and trends in luxury & multi family home sales – as well as land sales throughout the region.
Low inventory continues to be the story in the local and national housing market. Properties coming on the market for sale have been in short supply for a few years resulting in fewer closed sales while demand remains strong. Steadfast price growth for single and multi-family homes in northwest Vermont is good news for sellers – and has challenged some first-time home buyers who were caught in multiple offer scenarios in certain hot price points and locations.
2018 was a volatile year for the stock markets – with the DOW, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all ending the year lower than they started – the first time that has happened since 2008. Having said that, the markets spent most of 2018 climbing rather than falling- with never before seen heights. While the markets ended down -the overall economy soared. The economic expansion has been driven for years by historically low interest rates. After a several adjustments in 2018, the federal reserve is less eager to raise rates at the same pace and has already trimmed its forecast for expected rate hikes in 2019. Most experts project an average of 5.25% by the end of this year. While interest rates have risen slightly– they are still relatively low. And consumer spending is thriving. These are indications of a healthy economy for 2019 – even if not at the same pace as before. The federal government shut down has impacted the economy as well as the housing market – with furloughed government employees unable to provide a recent pay stub in order to prove current employment to mortgage lenders resulting in delays or cancellation of some home purchases. The full effect remains to be seen.
The overall trend in home sales has been positive since 2011 on a national and local level. In some larger markets across the country markets have begun to slow however Vermont benefits from relative stability with moderate growth year over year. The National Association of REALTORS’ Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, cites home price increases moderating in 2019. Tight inventory conditions remain an ongoing concern that will keep prices relatively elevated, but stable.
New construction projects may ease the shortage somewhat, but the need for affordable homes is not being met. Builders face challenges in land, permit and materials cost as well as shortages in labor which has been putting the price of new homes in the area well above $400,000. Some communities are challenging new developments, with neighbors raising concerns about the loss of green space and wildlife habitats. The quality of life that draws people to Vermont needs to be carefully balanced with the cost of living in our beautiful state.
Millennials make up to 45% of the home buyer market and affordability is a factor. Heavy student loan debt and changing interest rates affect purchase power. For a $300,000 loan – a 1% increase in interest rate equates to an additional $178 per month to the mortgage payment. Working with a local lender – with a common-sense approach to underwriting – will benefit purchasers navigating this market. With most home buyers purchasing property for lifestyle reasons, many are quick to recognize that buying a home is a way to build wealth in the long run.
2019 will remain a Seller’s market in most of the region, with a true “buyer’s market” not on the immediate horizon due to limited inventory, increasing prices and interest rates. Buyers should not stay away from the housing market especially if they are at point in their life where they are ready and able to buy. Buyers who have watched from the sideline and now fear missing out on their dream of home ownership – or risk facing higher finance costs to do so – should act now! They may face less competition early in the season and sellers may still realize a gain on their home sale. This should be a cue for potential sellers to enter the market early in 2019 – rather than waiting for the typical height of the market in the Spring.
Buyers and sellers alike should have these best practices in mind: identify your wants and needs, learn about the market, form reasonable expectations, perform your due diligence, and be prepared to act – with the assistance of a skilled and trusted Realtor.
Limited homes for sale continue to be the story across Chittenden County. With new listings to the market declining 3% over 2018 – units sold also dropped. This resulted in a median price increase of 5.6% for single family homes.
The number of Condominiums available for purchase showed a healthy increase as some owners took advantage of a seller’s market and sold their entry level condos in order to move up to a larger home. Builders introduced new condominiums & townhouses to the market, offering easy maintenance and the “right size” floorplan for new families and empty nesters.
Winooski continues to draw buyers with a revitalized downtown & walkability to restaurants, shopping and recreation. Multiple offers on single family homes from excited buyers pushed the median price up 18% – nearly the largest increase across the county. A number of resales in the Cascades Building along the Winooski River resulted in a 44% surge in the median price of condominiums in the city.
Multi Family properties were in high demand while inventory was extremely tight. Investors need to move quickly when a property becomes available.
The number of single-family homes sold in 2018 remained stable while new listed properties declined. This resulted in a slight uptick in the median sale price. Condominium sales are minimal in this county – a total of 17 sales in 2018 – therefore statistics can be affected by a slight a change.
Buyers are attracted to the relative affordability compared to neighboring Chittenden County – along with the quaint Vermont feel of restaurants, galleries and small shops that make up the downtowns of many of the towns in Addison County.
Topping the list of closed sales in the county were Middlebury, Bristol, Ferrisburgh, Monkton and Vergennes. Construction in downtown Middlebury through 2019 may be a factor in the market, however Middlebury College will always be a strong draw.
Sales in Vergennes increased by 18% possibly affected by a 14% increase in homes available for purchase. Starksboro is an appealing option for home buyers with an affordable option median price of $238,750.
New Haven posted one of the highest increases in median price – at $333,000 a 42% increase over 2017. This increase is a result of an increase in the number of units sold – which rose by 50%. Median price is defined as the sale price of the property in the middle of the roster of sold properties – therefore a jump from 10-15 units sold will push the median price up while not necessarily equating to an appreciation in overall home values.
The number of properties coming on the market in 2018 stabilized after declining for a few years. This was good news for buyers seeking affordable home ownership options. Franklin County, with a median price of under $209,000, is the most affordable in northwest Vermont.
Town by town data varies widely with median prices and sales fluctuating based upon proximity to interstate 89, Lake Champlain or second home areas.
Georgia and Fairfax posted the highest median sale prices of $280,000 and $286,000 respectively. A nearly 17% increase in new homes to the market in Fairfax helped push unit sales up by 6.8%. With proximity to both Burlington and St. Albans, both towns are popular options for families.