Vacancy rate is easing in Chittenden County rental market

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

CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_RentalV2


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

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 fi rm 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 fi nding 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 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 South Village in South Burlington and 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

Property sales in 2015 focused on mid-priced homes in Grand Isle

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$191,050 (-18%)92 (+10.4%)262 (+2.7%)178

Grand Isle is attracting more buyers, thanks to a stronger economy and lower gas prices, but the county is recording fewer high-end property sales. Our agents are noting a lack of strong inventory in the $600,000 and higher price range, as well as fewer upper-end buyers.

As a result, property sales in the first nine months of 2015 were focused on mid-priced homes. While the median sale price dipped 18% to $191,050, the number of unit sales rose 10.8% during the same period.

The county’s waterfront properties also draw retirees and those looking for a lakefront retreat. Trends in the first nine months of 2015 have been influenced by several factors.


Mid-Priced Housing

The median sale price slipped 18%, as the market shifted to mid-priced single-family homes. The higher end of Grand Isle’s property market has been slower to recover than homes affordable to middle-class buyers.

Only Three Luxury Sale

During the first nine months of the year, the county recorded three luxury sales, far fewer than neighboring Chittenden County.

A Small Market

A shift in only a few transactions can have a large impact in overall sales and pricing trends because Grand Isle is
the smallest real estate market by volume in Northwest Vermont.


Nine land sales were recorded in the first nine months of the year, compared with 15 sales a year-earlier. The median sale price slipped 58% to $60,000.

Grand_Isle_Table

Buyers back in the market in Addison County

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$215,000 (+2.4%)257 (+14.2%)559 (0.4%)158
A healthier economy and lower gas prices are helping bring buyers back to the real estate market in Addison County.

Middlebury is the county’s most active town for home sales. The number of transactions jumped by almost 29%, while the median sale price rose 8.8% to $225,000.

Some towns, such as Cornwall and Hancock, recorded signifi cant jumps in median sale prices, which is due to the small number of overall transactions. That means one or two expensive sales can have an oversized infl uence in median pricing.

Land sales were relatively steady at 26 transactions, while the median sale price rose 15.7% to $88,500. Some retirees and homebuyers have been seeking land purchases in the county in order to custombuild homes.


A Vibrant Local Economy

Employers including UTC Aerospace, a supplier of aerospace and defense products, and Middlebury College are hiring, helping to draw more buyers into the market.

Lower Gas Prices

When gas prices decline, as they have in recent months, the county becomes more desirable to buyers who work in Chittenden County because commuting costs are lower.

Steady Luxury Sales

With high-end waterfront property, luxury buyers are drawn to the county. Five out of this year’s luxury sales were recorded in the county, including four sales in Cornwall and one in Hancock.

Higher Sales and Pricing

All of those trends helped boost the number of transactions by 14.2%, while the median sales price rose 2.4%.


Franklin County experiences strong gain in residential market

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$194,000 (+4.3%)387 (+2.7%)877 (-2%)120

Residential sales picked up in Franklin County during the fi rst nine
months of 2015, boosted by a stronger economy and buyers looking
in the county for more affordable housing than in neighboring
Chittenden County.

Still, not every town in the county is equally benefitting from the boost in demand.


Proximity to I-89

Those towns in the western section of the county – which are closer to 1-89 — are seeing higher median pricing and stronger demand. Fairfax, which borders 1-89, recorded both higher median pricing and sales volume, for instance. Many towns to the east, which are farther from the interstate, saw a dip in median pricing.

Commuters To Chittenden County

Given the difficulty in finding single-family homes in the sub-$250,000 range in Chittenden County, more buyers are looking at properties in Franklin County. The continuation of low gas prices has helped to make the county more affordable for commuters in the past year.

A Diverse Business Base

The revitalization of St. Albans, as well as hiring by local employers such as pharmaceutical company Mylan and logistics company A.N. Deringer, are supporting demand for housing.


Land sales fell 21.4% to 22 transactions during the first nine months of the year. Land sales were slow during the winter months, when sub-normal temperatures kept buyers sidelined, but they’ve picked up during the summer and fall. The median sale price for land parcels rose 23% to $69,500.

The multi-family market dropped slightly, with 17 sales during the first nine months of 2015 compared to 20 in the same period last year. With high prices and competitive bidding for multi-family properties in Chittenden County, some investors are looking to Franklin County. The median sale price rose 31% to $221,100.

Sales rise in Vermont multi-family and investment property

Multi-Family Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$288,250 (-3.6%)92 (+8.2%)202 (-0.5%)90

The market for Duplexes and three- and four-bedroom unit properties has grown this year, with sales rising 8.2 percent in the first 9 months of 2015. However, our agents have noted that inventory is often an issue, especially when it comes to properties that are both in good condition and in prime locations.

With mortgage rates remaining low, some renters are considering purchasing a home rather than continuing to rent. We are seeing that refl ected in a higher percentage of fi rst-time purchasers in the market. This trend could push vacancy rates higher in the long term, according to Allen & Brooks.

At the same time, local businesses such as Gardener’s Supply and Turtle Fur are hiring, bringing new professionals to the region. Given that many of those professionals initially would rather rent than buy, that’s keeping the rental market strong.


Inventory Remains Tight

With fewer multi-family properties entering the market in Burlington, investors are turning to neighboring towns such as Winooski, where properties have a lower price point and there may be more inventory. That has pushed the median sale price to a slightly lower level than a year earlier.

Chittenden County’s Attractive Vacancy Rate

There has been some easing in the region’s tight vacancy rate, although it remains below the national rate. The vacancy rate in Chittenden County now stands at 2.8%, above the long-term trend of about 1.4%, according to real estate consulting fi rm Allen & Brooks. The national vacancy rate is about 4.2%, by comparison.

Rents Remain High

Because monthly rents have steadily increased in Chittenden County, that’s proved attractive to investors. Across all apartment sizes, rents rose 2.3% last year, for instance. Still, the region’s high rents are of increasing concern among policy makers and renters.


Renewed activity for Vermont luxury

Northwest Vermont’s luxury market encompasses a wide variety of options, ranging from waterfront property to Victorian mansions in Burlington.

This year has brought renewed activity for homes priced above $800,000, although this segment has been slower to recover than the market for mid-priced housing in Northwest Vermont. There is still substantial inventory available, refl ecting approximately a three year supply of homes.

The state’s relatively high property taxes might be discouraging second-home buyers from purchasing real estate in Vermont. While lakefront property has been a traditional pull with luxury buyers, our agents are also seeing increased interest in country properties, as well as homes that offer good values and are located near Burlington.

The luxury property market has been focused in Chittenden County so far this year, representing two-thirds of the over-$800,000 sales. Five sales were located in Addison County, while Grand Isle recorded three transactions.


A Shift to Country and City Estates

While waterfront property continues to be a draw for some buyers, country and city properties have dominated the market this year.

Close to Town

Buyers are particularly interested in high-end homes that are close to Burlington and its amenities, such as the University of Vermont Medical Center and its vibrant arts scene.

Waterfront Concerns

Concerns continue to linger after the floods after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Buyers are seeking properties with homes that are elevated above the lake, and with seawalls that are in good condition.

MARKET INSIGHTS
Nine of this year’s 24 $800,000-plus home sales include waterfront access.
Two-thirds of the year’s luxury sales so far are located in Chittenden County.

Residential Real-Estate Market is Hitting its Stride

The type of healthy sales and pricing trends that were typical before the recession are returning to our region in 2015, thanks to a rebounding local economy, historically low interest rates, and a new influx of first-time home buyers.

With growing local businesses such as renewable-energy systems company NRG Systems and MyWebGrocer, the region’s employment outlook remains healthy. Professionals continue to relocate to Northwest Vermont in search of new opportunities. The unemployment rate in Vermont stood at 3.6% in May, or almost two percentage points below the national average for the same month.

In addition to new hiring, our region’s housing market benefited from the positive outcome for IBM’s former Essex Junction semiconductor plant, with GlobalFoundries completing its purchase of the chip business in July. The uncertainty about the plant’s future, which employs about 4,000 workers, was lifted, bringing buyers and sellers back into the market.

One measure of the market’s health is the resurgence of first-time homebuyers. A recent survey of our clients found that 37% had just made their first home purchase. Last year, the percentage of first-time homebuyers on a national basis fell to 33%, from a typical level of 40%. Our market may have room to grow as more renters opt to make their first home purchase in the coming years.

Interest rates remain near historic lows, although the Federal Reserve is expected to begin raising rates incrementally later this year. This will likely push up mortgage rates slightly by the end of 2015, which could bring more buyers into the market as they seek to lock in rates before they rise even higher.

Northwest Vermont is facing some headwinds, however. These include affordability issues, given the region’s relatively expensive housing market and lagging wage growth. Rising property taxes have added to affordability concerns for both mid-range and high-end buyers.

Despite those pressures, housing demand and pricing were strong in the first six months of 2015. Median sale prices rose 5.7% across our region’s four counties, while the number of transactions jumped 13.7%. All four counties recorded higher transaction levels than a year earlier. By comparison, unit sales and home pricing was little changed in 2014.

The National Association of Realtors predicted in its July outlook that national sales of existing homes will rise 6.5% this year, with prices almost gaining 7%. Our view at Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty calls for more tempered growth, with a 5% rise in sales volume and moderate price gains.

As always, it remains that both sellers and buyers need to reflect on their personal situation. Utilizing the local knowledge within this report and the advice of your Agent – you can make an informed decision about your next move.


After an abnormally cold winter that caused some consumers to delay their real estate plans, summer has brought a resurgence in home-buying activity. Sales jumped 13.7% during the first six months of the year, with more residential properties selling in each of the four counties than a year earlier. Across the four counties tracked in this report, the median sales price rose 5.7%.

CBHB_Summer_USETHISPDF_Final2


Chittenden County

The real estate market in Vermont’s most populous county picked up speed following an already strong 2014. The number of unit sales jumped 18.1%, with Burlington, Winooski and Essex among the towns recording significantly higher activity. Median sales pricing rose 6.2% compared with a year earlier.

Franklin County

After a slow end to 2014, sales and pricing rebounded in Franklin County, which is attractive to some buyers because it offers a lower price point than neighboring Chittenden County. Lower gas prices have made living in the county a more economical option for commuters. Sales volume rose 1.4 percent, while median pricing jumped 5.4%.

Grand Isle County

While sales volume picked up in the first half of the year, median pricing slipped 13.4%. Buyers may have been searching for lower-priced housing, while the county recorded fewer luxury sales than is typical. It’s important to note that as Grand Isle is Northwest Vermont’s least active county for real estate transactions, a small number of sales can have a relatively large impact on pricing trends.

Addison County

An improving economy and lower gas prices helped boost sales in Addison County. Property sales rose 10.8% during the first six months of the year, while the median sale price rose 7.3%. Middlebury, the most active town for sales, saw pricing gains of 3%, while Cornwall and Hancock recorded four luxury sales of properties above the $800,000 mark

CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_Trends-copy

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.

CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_RentalV2


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

Addison County Market Gains Momentum

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$214,001133 (10.8%)396 (3.4%)166
CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_Addison-copyProperty sales in Addison County are benefiting from an improving economy and lower commuting costs.

The residential market in Addison County has been gaining momentum since late last year, when our Realtors noted that properties in good conditions and locations were going under deposit quickly. A number of trends are helping the county’s real estate market.


Lower Commuting Costs

Given that Addison County has a lower median sales price than neighboring Chittenden County, the area becomes even more attractive to professionals when gas prices are lower, as they have been this year.

A Diverse Employer Base

Employers including Middlebury College and UTC Aerospace, a supplier of aerospace and defense products, are drawing new buyers into the market.

Luxury Sales

The county’s waterfront and country estates appeal to high-end buyers. Four of this year’s $800,000-plus sales were recorded in the county, with three in Cornwall and the fourth in Hancock.

Higher Sales and Pricing

All of those trends helped boost the number of transactions by 10.8%, while the median sales price rose 7.3%.


Middlebury remains the county’s most active town for home sales. While the number of transactions there dipped  3.4% in the first six months, the median sales price rose 3 percent.

Because some towns have a small number of overall transactions, one or two high-end sales can cause a significant jump in median pricing, as in Cornwall and Hancock.

Land sales were little changed during the first half of the year, while the median sales price slipped 4.7% to $81,000. Some retirees and homebuyers have been seeking land purchases in the county in order to custom-build homes.

MARKET INSIGHTS
Median pricing rose 7.3% in the first half of the year.
Lower gas prices and a diverse employer base are boosting interest from buyers.
Middlebury remains the most active town for property sales.

Addison_Table

Buyer Activity Improved but Median Price Dipped

County Averages   
Median Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$210,00047 (6.8%)181 (-7.7%)209
CBHB_2015_Spring_NewGraph_GrandIsle-copyAfter a slow winter, home buying activity in Grand Isle recovered as spring arrived, helping lift the number of sales by 6.8% for the first six months of 2015. That came after a dip in sales during the first quarter of 2015.

Professionals and retirees seeking single-family homes are drawn to the county for its pristine waterfront properties and quiet lifestyle. Its proximity to Chittenden County and Burlington attracts professionals, while a range of property types and prices attracts a wide variety of buyers. This year’s trends have been influenced by a number of factors.


Mid-Priced Housing

The median sale price dipped by 13.4%, representing a preference for mid-priced housing. While Grand Isle is well known for its luxury waterfront properties, the high end of Northwest Vermont’s housing market has been slower to recover than lower-priced segments.

Only One Luxury Sale

During the first six months of the year, the county recorded one luxury sale, a $1.35 million Adirondack-style home on Lake Champlain.

A Small Market

Because Grand Isle is the smallest real estate market by volume in Northwest Vermont, a shift in only a few transactions can have a large impact in overall sales and pricing trends.


Three land sales were recorded in the first six months, compared with eight sales in the year-earlier period. The median sale price slipped 61% to $60,000.

Grand_Isle_Table