Vacancy Pressure Eases, Affordability Still a Struggle

MARKET INSIGHTS
The county’s vacancy rate is 2.8%, significantly below the national average.
Rents have increased 3.1% annually since 2001.

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Apartment hunting in Northwest Vermont is often a competitive endeavor, given an extremely low vacancy rate and increasing demand from a diverse professional workforce.

The Vacancy Rate Is Easing

The vacancy rate stood at 2.8% in June, compared with a two-decade average of 1.4%, according to real estate consulting firm Allen & Brooks. The region’s vacancy rate has eased this year due to a boost of new apartment construction, such as Finney Crossing in Williston and Riverrun Luxury Apartments in Winooski.

The Vacancy Rate’s Impact on Renters

The higher vacancy rate is allowing renters to take more time when assessing and deciding on which property to lease, although all available units are still finding tenants, Allen & Brooks noted. The county’s vacancy rate, while not as low as in the past, is still well below the national average of 4.1%.

Local Hiring

Local employers such as the UVM Medical Center and Keurig Green Mountain are hiring, with many of the professionals opting to rent before buying. As the economy continues to improve, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty believes more renters will decide to buy homes, which could lead to an even higher vacancy rate.

Competitive Rents

In the meantime, rents continue to be competitive in Chittenden County. The average monthly rent has increased 3.1% annually since 2002, Allen & Brooks found. Wages for some workers haven’t matched that pace, which has caused affordability issues. Residents in Burlington are spending about 44% of income on housing, a level that’s considered unaffordable, according to a report published by the city last year.

Shifting Demand Among Neighborhoods

Some less expensive neighborhoods, such as Burlington’s Old North End, are witnessing an increase in demand because they are more affordable than the Hill Section and other Burlington neighborhoods, Allen & Brooks notes. Some renters are looking for apartments in newly constructed buildings, such as the Packard Lofts in the Old North End, because of the convenience of living in a newly built home with amenities.


Because our rental expert has extensive contacts with landlords, Realtors and associations, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty is well positioned to help clients find the most recent properties on the market.

Contact Our Rental Specialist

AubertSteStephanie Aubert
(802) 503-1150
rentals@hickokandboardman.com

Chittenden County Renters Feeling Squeezed

MARKET INSIGHTS
The county's vacancy rate is 1.7%, less than half of the national average.
Rents have increased 3.1% annually in the past decade.

Because of an extremely low vacancy rate and new hiring from companies including Keurig Green Mountain, renting an apartment or home in Chittenden County is often competitive.

The county’s vacancy rate stood at 1.7% in December, or less than half the national rate of 4.2%. Because of the tight vacancy rate, renters should plan to add extra time in their search for an apartment or home, especially when compared with regions with more available inventory.

The pace of hiring by local employers, ranging from technology companies such as Dealer.com to retailers like Trader Joe’s, has brought an influx of new professionals into Chittenden County. Our rental expert has found that about half of relocating professionals opt to rent before seeking a home purchase.

Rents are also competitive in Chittenden County, with the average price rising 3.1 percent annually since 2002, according to real estate consulting firm Allen & Brooks. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,155 last year.

Average wages in Chittenden County haven’t kept pace with the rise in rents, which means that renters are paying a higher share of their income toward housing costs than in many other parts of the country. Almost two-thirds of renters pay more than 30% of their income toward housing expenses.

Some less expensive neighborhoods, such as Burlington’s Old North End, are experiencing an increase in demand because of the affordability issues, Allen & Brooks notes. Other renters are seeking smaller apartments in newly constructed apartment buildings, because those studios and one-bedrooms may be more affordable than larger apartments in older homes.

Because our rental expert has extensive contacts with landlords, Realtors and associations, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty is well positioned to help clients navigate the rental market.

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