Chittenden County Sees Continued Decline in Single-Family Homes for Sale

Enjoy beautiful from this 3-story Townhome on Burlington’s Waterfront. | MLS # 4707646

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$332,000 (+4.1%) $371,886 (+5%)531 (-2.8%)854 (-5.7%)71 (-7.8%)

Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$230,000 (-1.1%) $261,287 (-0.7%)317 (+13.2%)463 (+23.1%)62 (-36.1%)

Chittenden County as a whole posted moderate increases in the median and average sales price of single-family homes with the continued decline in newly listed homes affecting the closed sales.  

A number of cities and towns had well above-average increases in pricing including Burlington, Charlotte, Richmond, and Westford. The city of Winooski is a bright spot, as homeowners are attracted to its lively downtown, affordability, and proximity to Interstate 89 or Burlington. In Shelburne, the single home market is recovering; posting healthy increases in listings and sold homes after a weak first half in 2017.

The condominium market in Chittenden County remains healthy with a 13% increase in sales and a 23% increase in new listings. This available inventory has kept pricing stable – except where new construction projects are driving the inventory such as in South Burlington and Williston – which posted a 21% and 7% increase in median sales price over the same period in 2017.

 

 

 

Median Sale Prices Rise in Addison County

This 1820 Farmhouse is a magical mix of old and new in Bristol! MLS# 4699019

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$255,000 (+15.9%)$268,211 (+5.86)46 (-13.2%)83 (-25.9%)186 (+33.8%)

Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$159,240 (-16.6%) $193,177 (-26.4%)7 (-36.4%)12 (+71.4%)63 (-38.8%)

The growth in the median and average sold price continues in Addison County.

The number of homes sold during the 2nd quarter increased over the same period in 2017 – although year to date the sales are flat. The 23% decline on new listings has surely contributed to the lack of growth in home sales – as well as the price increases. Buyers are attracted to the quaint, Vermont feel and vibrant downtowns with restaurants, galleries and events in communities like Vergennes and Bristol. Middlebury, the largest town in Addison County – also posted the most closed sales as well as an 11% increase in median price – to $292,000.

Retirees and second homeowners alike are drawn to opportunities available in this college town. Elsewhere in the county, smaller rural communities posted healthy price increases – although these results are affected by the small number of transactions.

 

 

 

Franklin County Market Rebounds After Slow Start to the Year

Meticulous & well-maintained do not even begin to describe this 4 bedroom Colonial on .5 acre lot in the very desirable hill section of St. Albans. MLS# 4687255

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$204,500 (+1%)$215,586 (+3%)264 (+16.8%)448 (+6.2%)111 (-5.9%)

Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$175,000 (-15.4%)$192,169 (-10.4%)29 (+31.8%)31 (-3.1%)188 (+39.3%)

After a slow start to 2018, home sales in Franklin County rebounded during the 2nd quarter of 2018 – increasing nearly 17% over the first half of 2017.

With inventory for sale still at historic lows, the number of newly listed properties improved – providing new options for buyers searching for affordable living. Franklin County has the lowest median sale price among the four counties in northwest Vermont. Town by town the data varies. Fairfax, situated between Burlington and St. Albans, has the highest median sale price at $282,000 while St. Albans and Swanton had the most closed sales.

 

 

Warm Weather Should Bode Well for Grand Isle Sales this Summer

Delightful home in the heart of Grand Isle, featuring a large fenced yard, hardwood floors, sunny windows and enclosed back porch. MLS# 4705537

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$201,700 (-3.7%)$308,180 (+19.2%)54 (-3.6%)134 (-25.1%)241 (+41.8%)

Condo
* No Sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Single Family homes sold in Grand Isle County show a slight decline (-4%) over the 1st six months of 2017 – however, this decline only translates to 2 home sales.

In our 2017 mid-year report, the number of closed sales had increased 24%; we can look at the change this year as an adjustment versus a decline in buyer interest. In all of the towns, except North Hero, there were healthy gains in the closed, median sale price. South Hero claims the highest median sale price in the county at $581,250. Two luxury, lakefront property sales in the town contributed to this jump – the highest median price in many years. Alburg and Grand Isle posted double-digit increases in closed sales over 2017 – despite a continued decline in properties available for purchase.

The warm summer should bode well for buyer interest across the county – as vacationers and potential second homeowners experience all that the small county of Grand Isle has to offer.

 

 

 

Luxury Sales Up over 30% over 2017 at the Mid-Year Point

Live in downtown Burlington with spectacular waterfront views, and keep your boat at the new Burlington Harbor Marina. MLS# 4697294
Luxury Homes   
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Days on Market:
$1,004,000 (+1.9%)$1,085,797 (-0.9%)17 (+30.8%)225

Buyer interest continues to improve in the Luxury* market across northwest Vermont.

17 properties closed during the first half of 2018 with 65% (or 11 homes) closing during the 2nd quarter. New listings are generating multiple showings and, in some cases, multiple offers. Lakefront properties have sold in all four counties – including Franklin County which has recorded 2 luxury sales in more than 3 years. Filling out the buyer demand are properties away from the lake with newer construction and amenities, privacy and views along with proximity to the greater Burlington area employers. The “days on market” – or the number of days from listing to closing – fluctuates wildly with a small data sampling. A number of the properties that sold during the 1st six months of the year were on the market for well below the 225 days in this report. With 106 properties available for purchase, buyers have many options when seeking a home in the range of $850,000 and higher.

* The Luxury market is defined as properties selling for $850,000 & above.

 

Multi Family Sales Soar With Robust Increases in Units Closed & Median Sale Prices

Great Victorian, well maintained, two unit home in quaint village of Bakersfield. MLS# 4689279

Northwest Vermont    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$310,000 (+10.7%)$450,155 (+39.9%)78 (+36.8%)98 (-16.2%)109 (-0.9%)

Chittenden County     
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$382,800 (+13.4%) $575,218 (+40.6%)51 (+41.7%)56 (-17.7%)86 (-7.5%)

Investors continue to show strong demand for multi – family properties especially in Chittenden County which accounts for 65% of the total units closed in northwest Vermont during the 1st six months of the year.

The number of properties listed during the time frame dropped more than 16% and, since 2015, the properties available has declined 38%. Limited inventory coupled with the demand pushed the median price of multi-family homes up 11% across the region and 13% in Chittenden County. A few high-priced sales in Burlington drove the average sale price up to more than $575,000. Despite the building of newer apartment complexes and a slight easing of the historically low vacancy rate – demand is still high from renters. Amenities included in the newer complexes are appealing to tenants – however, these units may come with higher rents. Therefore, investors seek out opportunities by purchasing more traditional, multi-family buildings or single-family properties in neighborhoods to meet the pent-up demand.

 

 

Vermont Land Sales See over 28% Boost Over 2017

Morning views to Mount Mansfield, evening sunsets with a hearty walk to the rear of the lot which is the height of this land. MLS# 4693819
Northwest Vermont    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$82,000 (-7.9%) $134,471 (+35.6%)95 (+28.4%)257 (-21.7%)271 (+11.5%)

Sales of land across northwest Vermont showed robust increases over the same period last year.

Addison County posted a 60% increase in land sales with a total of 32 parcels sold – equal to neighboring Chittenden County. With sellers looking to “right size” their home and take advantage of a “seller’s market” – many are turning to land purchases to build a custom home. Permitting, development and building costs can contribute to higher than average prices for the home when complete – however, the buyers benefit from new, energy efficient and lower maintenance options. Developers looking for land in key locations have also contributed to some on the increases.

Wire Fraud Alert

The National Association of REALTORS is raising awareness of increased reports of wire fraud schemes that involve hackers stealing email addresses and sending fraudulent bank wiring instructions to various parties involved in a real estate transaction.

The cyber-criminal scheme takes on many variations, often tricking the unsuspecting user into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows the criminal to steal login, password, or other personal information. The criminal then uses the stolen information to send fraudulent wire instructions disguised to come from a professional you’re working with, including real estate agents, attorneys, lenders or consumers.

If you receive an email with wiring instructions, do not respond. Financial institutions advise that email is not a secure way to send your financial information. Here are a few ways to help protect yourself against wire fraud:

  • Never wire funds without personally speaking with the intended recipient of the wire to confirm the routing number and account number.
  • Verify that the contact information for the wire transfer recipient is legitimate. Call to verify the request using a phone number that has been independently obtained, not the phone number contained in the email containing the wiring instructions.
  • Never send personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers and credit card numbers, unless it is through secured/encrypted email or personal delivery to the intended recipient.
  • Take steps to secure the system you are using with your email account such as using strong passwords and secure WiFi.
  • Act immediately if you suspect that you have been victimized by wire fraud. Contact the Vermont FBI district office at 802-951-6725 or file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at bec.ic3.gov

 

This important notice is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer if you have any questions.

The First-Time Home-buying Experience

The first-time homebuyers’ jubilance can be infectious. Everything is new, from the space surrounding them to their feelings inside.

 

“We’re so happy — very, very pleased,” says Amanda O’Brien, who, with her husband, Evan, recently purchased their first home in South Burlington, just off Dorset Street.

Like the O’Briens, Matt and Katie Campbell recently bought a home in South Burlington. “Everything about this house just fit all of our criteria,” says Matt Campbell, an insurance professional. “The price was right, and the neighborhood was excellent. The house is a great fit for us, and it allows us the extra space that our growing family needs. We love the cape style and the convenient location.”

The Campbells and the O’Briens are all in their thirties — the so-called “Millennials” — and their generation still accounts for the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S., at 26 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

In 2017, the share of first-time homebuyers was 34 percent — a slight dip from 35 percent in 2016. Overall, this bucks the historical norm of 40 percent of the market.

As first-time homebuyers, Millennials face challenges in the current housing market, where inventory is tight nationwide, causing the prices of homes to jump; and many Millennials carry unprecedented amounts of student debt, which can delay plans to buy a home.

In northwestern Vermont, though, opportunities exist to settle into that first home, but it’s vital to tap into a professional first, such as a knowledgeable and creative Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman (CBHB) agent, especially in the current market, according to the Campbells and O’Briens.

Matt Campbell had owned a home prior to the one that he and Katie bought together, so he knew about some the preparations necessary, but he and Katie still sought the advice of CBHB Agent, Michaela Quinlan. Katie and Michaela have known each other since childhood, and Matt grew up near Michaela’s father, in South Burlington.

“Michaela was excellent to work with, though we had a long prior relationship as friends,” Matt says. “She was the ultimate professional in dealing with us and really knew her stuff. I walked away from this experience holding her in higher regard for her professionalism and market knowledge, as well as her unquestioned support of her friends and clients.”

The Campbells knew what they wanted: four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two floors, a basement, and a decent-sized yard for their dogs and children: Dennis, who is 19 months old, and a daughter expected at the end of this June. They have been married for 2 1/2 years and together for five. Matt bought his previous home in 2009, after moving back to Vermont from Boston. He and Katie lived there together for three years.

“We started looking for our new home a full year prior, because I wanted to get a good handle on what the market was in the Burlington area and to be able to identify good opportunities,” Matt says. “With our growing family, we knew we would eventually need more space, and we had strict criteria on where we wanted to live, so when the right opportunity presented itself we wanted to feel confident in our decision and offer.”

The whole purchasing process took about 12 to 15 months, from the first search online to the closing date. The Campbells physically looked at 10-plus homes and viewed hundreds online. Matt saw “the one” (property) early on a Saturday morning, and they were in a multiple-offer situation by midweek — another common scenario in the current housing market.

The O’Briens also rose to the top of a multiple-offer situation. They saw their home listed late on a Friday afternoon. They toured it on Sunday. Multiple offers came in on Monday; the sellers made a decision by the end of that day, and the O’Briens closed on the property less than two months later, with the assistance of CBHB Agent, Betsy Forrester.

“Before beginning their home search, Amanda and Evan had met with a mortgage lender and had gotten a pre-approval, so they knew how much they were qualified to finance,” Forrester says. “As a couple, they had also discussed areas where they wanted to live and the style and type of home that suited them both, so we were able to start with more targeted search parameters.”

Be prepared: It’s the advice that Forrester, Quinlan and all our agents offer most to first-time homebuyers, who should look at their finances and meet with a mortgage lender to first determine a comfortable mortgage payment. Also, Forrester says, realize that finding a home involves compromise of the “must haves” and the “like to haves.” Finally, she and Quinlan say it is important to be patient, and not take the bidding process personally.

“Purchasing a home is a process, and sometimes it takes a while for everything to come together just right,” Forrester says.

The O’Briens rented before buying their first home, as did 73 percent of other first-time homebuyers in 2017, according to the NAR. Evan, who is an attorney, is a Manhattan native. He and Amanda, a Rutland native, met in college and had rented in pricy New York City before deciding it would be more cost-effective — and better to be closer to family — if they settled back in Vermont and bought a home.

They, too, had a checklist of “wants” and “needs” that is typical for first-time homebuyers in their generation: lots of efficiencies, little maintenance and renovation, and proximity to an urban area with several amenities. They started saving for a house and preparing for their purchase even before returning to Vermont.

“It made things quite a bit easier,” Evan says.

Forrester educates first-time homebuyers with no home maintenance experience — especially those that have rented first — to “look beyond the sparking new kitchen or Pottery Barn-style living room” and consider the overall structural quality of the home, from the roof to the furnace.

“If buyers are stretching to be able to afford a home and the roof needs imminent replacement, then they need to be prepared for that expense soon after purchase or move on to find a home that likely won’t need major repairs until further into the future,” Forrester says.

Younger generations are renting longer, even though renting is expensive, but buying a home is still a better long-term investment.

“Owning property is a forced savings account,” says Michaela Quinlan. “I work with a lot of millennials that have a hard time putting away money into a traditional savings account. When you pay your landlord, the money disappears. When you pay a mortgage, you are building equity that will be there for you in the future.”

Both the Campbells and the O’Briens tend to stay in their homes for several years, which is another growing trend in the current housing market: More people are staying put longer — about 10 years in their home, as opposed to the traditional average of seven.

“The work and life balance in Vermont seems to be more in line with what we want for our lives than more urban or metropolitan areas,” Matt Campbell says. “When comparing other options, it became clear that Vermont, and more specifically Chittenden County, is an excellent place to raise a family.”

First Quarter 2018

Spectacular Main house with 24′ cathedral ceiling, gracious guest house plus rustic cabin on 24 acres with mountain views & pond in Lincoln. MLS# 4674273

 

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$276,500 (+11.9%)$294,085 (+5.7%)348 (-2.5%)573 (-12.52%)117 (+6.4%)
Condo    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$207,500 (-15.6%)$243,270 (-13.2%)118 (-0.8%)178 (+12.7%)84 (-29.4%)

Our 1st quarter market update provides an overview of the real estate activity in early 2018 throughout northwest Vermont (Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties). 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.

Median prices rose for single-family homes in northwest Vermont during the first quarter with Addison and Chittenden Counties showing strong increases. Despite a reported decline in median price, which brought pricing back to 2016 levels, Condos still remain a popular option among purchasers looking for ease of maintenance in their home. The number of condos coming on the market increased as a result of new construction in cities such as South Burlington and Williston.

While the number of properties sold dropped year over year, this is a reflection of the limited inventory on the market during the end of 2017 and early 2018. Chittenden County posted an 8% increase in units sold after a weak 1st quarter in 2017.