Grand Isle County’s lake access, gorgeous views and easy access to Interstate 89 draw homeowners from nearby Chittenden County, as well as vacation home buyers.
For two consecutive years, Grand Isle County’s residential sales have increased. Grand Isle has the fewest number of sales among all our four counties in northwestern Vermont, so sales data can be affected by just a single or few high-priced sales. With a 15% decline in newly listed homes since 2015, and demand still strong, the median sale price of a single-family home jumped by 10% to $250,000.
The number of newly listed single-family homes dipped by just more than 8%, while the number of units sold rose by 15 percent more than 2016, with 153 total single-family homes sold last year. South Hero posted a 40% increase in the median sale price, coupled with a 45% jump in the number of homes sold.
Therefore, the boost of land sales in Chittenden County could be a direct result of a decreased inventory in single-family homes and condos since 2015. New developments such as Hillside at O’Brien Farm in South Burlington are creating buzz in northwestern Vermont as homeowners look toward easy-maintenance living near town, village and city centers. (Construction has started on Hillside. The first homeowners move in this spring.)
The number of newly listed single-family homes and condos dipped across Chittenden County, but Burlington, Colchester and South Burlington all saw increases in newly listed properties, compared to 2016. Those towns also saw a boost in closings, because inventory increased. These results are positive — and bode well for the market overall — but these increases come in the wake of dramatic declines in 2016 inventory and sales in those towns.
Addison County is a bright spot in our 2018 Market Report, with healthy increases in median sales prices (up 7%) and average sales prices (up 8%) of single-family homes.
The median and average sales prices of condos are up 6 and 7%, respectively. Inventory is moving quickly, too: Days on the market — from listing to closing — for single-family homes dropped by 4%, and dropped 20% for condos. New listings decreased in both categories.
Middlebury, Addison County’s largest town, saw a 66% rise in single-family home sales over 2016. With a strong increase in buyer demand, and a 7% dip in new listings, the median sale price of a Middlebury home jumped by nearly 13% to $265,000. Monkton and Bristol also had healthy increases in sales and median pricing, as buyers search for a quality of life and reasonable commuting distance to the greater Burlington area.
Inventory continues to tighten in Franklin County, which remains the most affordable market in this northwestern Vermont report.
The median sale price of a single-family home in Franklin County is $214,950, up 5% from 2016, and the median sale price of a condo is $196,438, up 1%.
However, the number of single-family homes sold dropped nearly 6.5% (to 530) while the number of newly listed homes dropped 3% (to 785). Single-family homes are staying on the market longer, too — up 11% to 120 days.
In 2016, Franklin County benefitted from the shrinking inventory in nearby Chittenden County and posted an 18% increase in residential sales. In 2017, St. Albans and Swanton slowed from their highs of the previous year, while some of the outlying towns — such as Enosburgh, Sheldon, Richford, and Montgomery — posted double-digit increases in sales, perhaps due to their proximity to the Jay Peak ski region and Canada.
Fairfax saw a 7% increase in the median sale price of a single-family home — one of the highest in the county, though still quite affordable.
Multi-family properties are moving quickly in population hubs such as Burlington and Winooski, where the number of days from listing to closing is now 66.
Despite a 6% increase in units for sale across northwestern Vermont, new inventory remains tight in these key cities. Overall, the multi-family market is tight.
A 4% decline in units sold in 2016, twinned with a couple of higher-priced sales, resulted in a near 10% dip in median sales prices across northwestern Vermont for 2017. This reflects a shift in available inventory, not necessarily a decline in property values.
The number of multi-family properties sold decreased by nearly 4% in 2017, but the number of newly listed units on the market was up by more than 6% — to 225 in all four counties.
Rents have been high in northwestern Vermont, but landlords are starting to feel a pinch as newer multi-family options have become available since 2015, causing a shift in historically low vacancy rates in the area.
Sales of Luxury homes increased substantially in northwestern Vermont in 2017 — up 28% with 46 units sold, compared to 2016.
The story remains the same: Nationally, the luxury home market is being affected as consumers seek smaller homes with lighter tax burdens, but data still shows that Vermont has one of the more affordable luxury home markets in New England based on property value — which might be contributing to another strong showing for this market in northwestern Vermont.
Luxury sales are defined, in this report, as residential sales at $850,000 and above. Buyers purchased in-town properties, lakefront, lake view and lake access properties – as well as some country homes with acreage, views and unique features.
While the median sale price of a luxury home in northwestern Vermont has dropped slightly, the average days on market has also dropped to 159 days from listing to closing. This is good news for both buyers and sellers.
The rental market in Chittenden County is rapidly changing due to a surge of newly constructed apartment buildings.
The Allen, Brooks, & Minor December 2017 Report identified 2,908 apartment units pending approval and permitting in Chittenden County. Although the timeline for this new inventory is uncertain, and some may not come to fruition, they do represent possible rental unit growth in Chittenden County. The majority of units are in projects such as Cambian Rise, City Place Burlington (the Burlington Town Center redevelopment project), and Bayberry Commons on Grove Street.
The following are some trends that are having an impact on the rental market:
Decline in Vacancy Rate
362 units were completed in 2017 – above the 18-year average of 258 units. In 2018, 448 units are either currently under construction or are projected to be available for occupancy. The increase is finally prompting a trend of increased vacancy rates, reported at 2.62% in December 2017.
Wider range of choices for renters
A surge in new construction and an increase in vacancy rates means renters have more options. While the newly constructed buildings typically have higher rents, some renters prefer them because of the amenities, such as parking, gyms, recreation trails, storage, and pet grooming facilities.
Healthy Growth for Landlords
Landlords report tenant demand still appears to be relatively strong. In 2017, rents increased 2.1% versus previous annual increases of 3% – a sign of healthy, yet sustainable growth in the rental market.
The ongoing story in the national and regional market is the contraction of inventory for sale, so perhaps it is remarkable that sales during the third quarter remained stable in northwestern Vermont, while inventory generally declined.
Third quarter (Q3) activity reflects properties that were put under contract in the spring, with ensuing closings in July, August and September. June is typically the top month for real estate closings, as new households form and consumers work around summer vacations to buy or sell a new home. However, over the past few years, sales have strengthened in Q3, which is evident in this report. A season of strong buyer demand this year likely contributed to a timing of transactions that produced a stable Q3.
In our 4-county region, including Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties, the number of single-family homes for sale in Q3 was 2,138, compared to 2,367 at this time last year — a decline in inventory. However, demand remained strong. In 2016, 714 single-family homes sold between July and September; 736 were sold in Q3 2017 — a rise in sales.
The inventory of single-family homes for sale in Q3 has dropped steadily (nearly 28%) since 2014, when there were 2,960 on the market in Q3. Meanwhile, the number of single-family homes sold has increased 24.5% during that same period. Despite a strong Q3 in terms of closed real estate transactions, the YTD number of single-family homes sold in our 4-county region has dropped by 1.7%, while the number of condos sold has lowered by 4.4% — likely a result of the continuing decline in inventory.
One national and regional trend contributing to lack of inventory is simply that Americans are moving less. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, homeowners are staying in their homes for 10 or more years, compared to a previous national average of seven years.
The tightening of inventory has generated a jump in sold prices. Year-to-date (YTD), the median sale price of a single-family home — with the median price being “half the houses sold for more and half sold for less” — has jumped 4.3%, while the sale price of condos has risen nearly 4%.
The demand for homes and a shrinking stock of inventory has created an unusual number of multiple-offer situations for buyers and sellers. Buyers should consider a price point but be ready to be flexible in a competitive offer circumstance. Buyers should also enter the home buying process with pre-approval for financing from a local lender. Sellers should prepare their homes in advance for showings and inspections.
On the lending side: Mortgage rates are still low — around 3.8% for 30 years — but the national inventory shortage and an unprecedented amount of college debt facing younger generations has slowed the rate of household formation for first-time homebuyers. New lending regulations and restrictions have also posed challenges for first-time homebuyers, while Baby Boomers who are downsizing can sometimes make cash purchases. Sellers and buyers should be aware of this trend when considering multiple-offers. Our thoughtful and skilled Realtors can help with the often speedy, whirlwind competitive bidding process.
In previous years, we have witnessed that homeowners with properties on the market tend to take them off the market in the fourth quarter during the holiday season. However, if sellers are committed to selling, our agents recommend they keep their property on the market through the winter, because this is when motivated buyers, who must move for any reason, such as job relocation — are looking for a new residence.
Our team of experienced Realtors are available to answer any of your questions about the real estate market and your specific circumstances. We look forward to working with you.
Since 2014, the number of homes available for sale in Chittenden County has dropped by 31%, while the number of homes sold has jumped by 28% since Q3 2014.
Chittenden County is still our region’s most diverse market, with properties ranging from $145,000 to $5 million — an unusual range for any market in the U.S.
The median price in Chittenden County is now up to $322,500 for single-family homes and $232,500 for condos sold YTD. Again, this increase is likely a result of healthy buyer demand coupled with the decrease in properties available for purchase, which has dropped 7.9% for homes and 6.4% for condos.
Single-family homes in Chittenden County are now on the market for an average of 70 days, while condos are listed for an average of 85 days — a moderate increase that might be affected by newly constructed condos that remain on the market until construction is complete.
Newly built homes in Chittenden County are selling anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000. The cost of new construction, higher efficient homes, automated home features, and neighborhood amenities are driving market value. A good example of this mix is in the neighborhood of South Village, a community of single-family homes and townhouses in South Burlington surrounded by on-campus amenities, including an organic farm and recreation trails.
Residential sales in Addison County continue to recover after a few soft years.
First-time homebuyers looking for properties listed at $200,000 – $250,000 have created a growing market in Addison County. Our Realtors have noticed that parents of Middlebury College students are purchasing condos as either short-term or long-term dwellings. The median sale price of a condo in Addison County has jumped to $191,000, while the median sale price of a single-family home has increased by 11%, to $255,000.
Lower inventory in nearby Chittenden County might be pushing buyers a bit farther south, where buyers may find more house for their money.
There has been a sharp decline in Q3 inventory (-27%) in single-family homes in Addison County over the past 4 years, while sales have increased 21%.
While there is still an inventory shortage among all price ranges, sales have risen on homes listed between $250,000 to $450,000, according to our Realtors.