Chittenden County

Chittenden County Housing Market Report
Lake and seasonal mountain views in Shelburne. MLS#4442398
County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$269,900 (+3.1%)1970 (+14.9%)2720 (+2.3%)78

Chittenden County, the most active real estate market in our region, recorded significantly more residential sales in 2015, thanks to stronger local and national economies and record low interest rates. Median sale prices rose 3.1 percent, representing a healthy and sustainable increase.

2015 Chittenden County Housing Market

 

Above-average temperatures during the fall helped maintain some buyers’ interest in pursuing their home searches, capping off what had been a strong spring and summer. Typically, colder weather can lead to some home buyers curtailing their searches until spring returns.

Burlington continues to draw homebuyers, including first-time buyers and those looking to move into bigger properties or downsize. The city’s residential sales surged by 22.5% last year, making it one of the county’s most active towns. Still, the median sale price slipped by 2.2%, reflecting demand for lower-priced inventory in the New North End and Old North End. Our Realtors also note that some Burlington sales represented older homes with deferred maintenance, which provided buyers with greater bargaining power and opportunity to build equity.

2015 Chittenden County Home Sale PricesStrong Demand for Mid-Priced Properties

Affordable homes in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range are in the sweet spot, given the emergence of first-time homebuyers who are seeking mid-priced properties as their entry into the property market.

More Inventory in the Over-$500,000 Segment

Even though the median household income in Chittenden County is about $64,000, or 18% higher than Vermont’s median income, that’s not enough to support the purchase of some higher-end homes. As a result, inventory in the over $500,000 is growing, providing more choices for executive-level buyers.

Vibrant Health, Tech, and Education Sectors

Chittenden County not only has big employers like Dealer.com, but a growing number of tech start-ups that are seeking to hire new employees in both entry-level and mid-career roles. Additionally, the UVM Medical Center and educational institutions such as Champlain College continue to hire, bringing new professionals and homebuyers into the market..

Proximity and Cost

While Burlington remains a popular property market, some buyers are seeking nearby towns that offer more space or lower prices. Milton, Winooski, Jericho, and Colchester are among the towns that recorded double-digit percentage increases in sales last year.


 

Chittenden County Real Estate Market Snapshot

 

The multi-family market recorded 98 sales last year, an increase of 6.5% compared with 2014. For a longer discussion of trends in this market, please see our multi-family section in the Mid-Year Market Report.

Fifty-two land parcels were sold in Chittenden County last year, little changed from 2014. The median sale price rose 6.8% to $133,500. Demand remains steady for lots where professionals and retirees can build custom-homes..

Steady price increases in Chittenden County housing market

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$269,900 (+2.8%)1495 (+17%)2321 (+2.1%)80

The real estate market in Chittenden County has demonstrated healthy conditions during the first nine months of 2015. Steady price increases in the 2% to 3% range represent sustainable gains, while pent-up demand from first-time homebuyers has resulted in a boost in activity this year.

During the summer and early autumn months, the real estate market has sustained the momentum that began after a slow winter, when our agents noted that below normal temperatures caused some sellers and buyers to defer their real estate plans until warmer weather and new inventory arrived.


Job Creation

Chittenden County has added 4,000 new jobs since 2007, before the recession started, according to University of Vermont economist Art Woolf. Local companies such as Dealer.com and WebGrocer are hiring, bringing new homebuyers into the market.

A Steady Economic Outlook

The state’s unemployment rate stood at 3.6% in August, one of the lowest in the country. Corporations in Vermont could add 1,500 private-sector jobs this year, according to a forecast from economists at the Vermont Economic Outlook Conference.

Wanted: Mid-Priced Properties

Affordable properties in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range are especially in demand, with first-time homebuyers returning to the market and driving competition for these properties.

Burlington Remains Desirable

Unit sales surged by 31%. Still, median pricing slipped 4.5% during the fi rst half of 2015, which indicates that buyers are seeking lower-priced housing. Affordability remains an issue in the Queen City and the surrounding areas.

Proximity and Cost

Because of the cost of housing in Burlington, some buyers are turning to nearby towns that offer either lower prices or more space. Winooski, Essex, and Colchester all witnessed an uptick in sales this year through September.

MARKET INSIGHTS
Median pricing rose 6.2% during the first six months of 2015.
Housing in Burlington remains in demand, with residential properties selling in an average of only 88 days on the market.
More affordable towns close to Burlington also saw an uptick in sales.

Chittenden_Table

The multi-family market recorded 72 sales in the first nine months of 2015, compared to 61 sales in the same period a year earlier. For a longer discussion of trends in this market, please see our multi-family section in this Fall 2015 Market Report.

Land sales increased by 8.8%, for a total of 37 transactions through September 2015. The number of new land listings declined 28% over the same period last year, to 124. With a modest increase in sales and a decline in new land listings, the market is beginning to absorb the inventory. Median price was $132,000, just over a 3% decline from a year prior.

Chittenden County Springs into Summer

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$265,500889 (18.1%)1,547 (2.9%)88

CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_Chittenden-copy

The first half of 2015 has brought buyers back in force to Chittenden County, returning the market to the type of activity that was typical before the recession in 2008.

The real estate market gained momentum as spring and summer arrived. Our Agents reported that this winter’s below-normal temperatures might have delayed some real estate activity. Warmer weather brought both buyers and sellers back into the market.

A number of factors helped lift the county’s real estate transactions and median pricing.


CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_Chittenden2-copyEmployers Are Hiring

Local businesses such as the NRG Systems and The University of Vermont Medical Center are hiring. That’s bringing new professionals into the home-buying market. GlobalFoundries completed its purchase of IBM’s chip business, including its Essex plant, and vowed to keep jobs intact.

The Economic Outlook Is Strong

Economists at the Vermont Economic Outlook Conference earlier this year predicted the state’s unemployment rate could decline to 3.5% by year-end, with corporations adding 1,500 private-sector jobs.

Tight Inventory

Properties in the $250,000 to $350,00 are in strong demand, which is driving up pricing as homebuyers compete in the marketplace.

Burlington Remains Desirable

Unit sales surged by 31%. Still, median pricing slipped 4.5% during the first half of 2015, which indicates that buyers are seeking lower-priced housing. Affordability remains an issue in the Queen City.

Affordable Towns Close to Burlington Also Witnessed Strong Trends

Towns that offer quick access to Burlington but lower price points also recorded higher sales, including Winooski, Essex, and Colchester.

MARKET INSIGHTS
Median pricing rose 6.2% during the first six months of 2015.
Housing in Burlington remains in demand, with residential properties selling in an average of only 88 days on the market.
More affordable towns close to Burlington also saw an uptick in sales.

Chittenden_Table

Renewed Interest from Buyers & Sellers

MARKET INSIGHTS
Median Sale Price:$254,595
Units Sold:305 (+12.1%)
Newly Listed:573 (+3.1%)
Days on Market113

After ending 2014 on a strong note, Chittenden County’s residential sales market continued to see increased buyer demand in the first three months of 2015. Sales of residential properties rose 12.1% during the first quarter, buoyed by demand in Burlington and Essex.

Even though buyers closed on more homes than the first quarter of 2014, our agents report that some potential homebuyers and home-sellers delayed looking or listing their properties this winter, given the below-normal temperatures that put a damper on home sales across New England. The National Association of Realtors found that sales of existing homes declined 6.5% in the Northeast, largely because the month’s freezing temperatures kept would-be buyers inside.

The tough winter weather appears to have only delayed buyers’ interest, as well as the desire for homeowners to list their properties. With the state finally experiencing warmer weather, our agents are reporting a surge in property listings, as well as renewed interest from buyers.

Professionals are relocating to Chittenden County for job opportunities with employers such as Dealer. com and the University of Vermont Medical Center, while younger workers and renters are increasingly considering purchasing their own homes, helping to lift demand for residential property. With a wide range of property types and towns in the county, there are a myriad of options and price points, from Burlington based condominiums, new build in South Burlington to luxury property along Lake Champlain.

 

chittenden

While prices rose, the number of transactions slipped, with residential sales declining 4.3%. Our Realtors are finding that homes in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range remain in demand, but inventory in that segment is often tight. At the same time, there is a lot of available inventory above $500,000, allowing buyers in that segment to be more selective.

The economic outlook for Vermont this year remains positive, with economists at the Vermont Economic Outlook Conference predicting the state’s unemployment rate could decline to 3.5% by year-end, with corporations adding 1,500 private-sector jobs. Some towns are already experiencing a lift thanks to local employers, such as Essex, where the overhang about the future of IBM’s chip plant in Essex Junction resolved last year when new owner GlobalFoundries vowed to keep jobs intact.

Despite the jump in transactions, median pricing across the county rose slightly, by 0.8%. Chittenden County ranked as the most expensive residential market among the four counties tracked by the Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty Northwest Vermont Market Report.

 

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Inventory has been tight in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range, which is the sweet spot for first-time homebuyers. Even though employers are adding jobs and the unemployment rate remains low, Vermont’s per-capita personal income has been relatively stagnant compared with New England as a whole, which raises affordable issues for some homebuyers. Property taxes have continued to rise, adding to concern about the cost of housing in Vermont.

Several towns saw an increase in buyer demand in the first quarter. Aside from Essex and Burlington, Colchester and Winooski also recorded significant jumps in sales, at 51.7% and 25%, respectively. The 23.3% increase in median sale price in South Burlington may be attributed to the success of South Village. Even though Burlington remains a desirable location, its more expensive housing stock is prompting some buyers to search for homes in less expensive municipalities, such as Winooski. The median sale price in Burlington slipped 13% in the first quarter as buyers may have been searching for lowerpriced housing.

Inventory continues to be tight in Burlington, although our agents are seeing more homes come on the market, which may help meet buyer demand. New listings in the city rose 20.8% in the quarter, signaling that more owners have confidence to move forward with their plans. Healthy discussions surrounding affordablity challenges in Burlington are taking place with the proposed Housing Action Plan and the recent announcement of the redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center. Initial proposals include retail, office, and housing.

The multi-family market recorded 20 sales in the first quarter, or 16.7% below the year-earlier quarter. A lack of inventory continues to be an issue for investors, who are attracted by Chittenden County’s low vacancy rates and relatively high rents. Our agents are finding that wellpriced duplexes and three- and four-apartment buildings in good locations are fielding multiple offers. Still, tight inventory will continue to be an issue for this segment, given that new listings slipped 6.7% in the first quarter.

Because of the wide range of pricing and demand characteristics across Chittenden County, it’s important that homebuyers and sellers consult a knowledgeable Realtor. Across the county, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty is involved in more than one-fifth of all real estate transactions by unit sales, more than any other competing agency.

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