* No Sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
Homes sold in Grand Isle during the 1st quarter reflect a sharp decline over the same period in 2017.
However, the number sold is equal to the same period in 2016. In other words, the strong start for Grand Isle in 2017, with 25 sales, was unusual – and 16 closings in 2018 may not indicate a downward trend for the remainder of the year.
Historically, the spring and summer are stronger in this traditionally second home market.
While Chittenden County as a whole, posted a healthy increase in median and average sale prices, along with the number of units sold for single-family homes, the story varies city by city.
Burlington, Essex, and South Burlington lead the county with 35% – 59% increases in single family homes sold over a very soft 1st quarter of 2017. Condo sales fared well in Burlington and South Burlington as well. The number of condos available for sale in South Burlington increased by 67% over the same time last year – helped along by new projects such as Hillside at O’Brien Farm and South Village. Williston and Milton homes sales slipped year over year, however, with the 1st quarter being the lowest in sales for the entire year, there is still the opportunity to recover as the traditionally busy spring and summer markets heat up. Well maintained properties in desirable locations, priced up to $400,000 are generating multiple offers due to pent-up Buyer demand and low inventory. Buyers and sellers should consult with their agent as to the best strategy for their unique circumstances in order to achieve their real estate goals in 2018.
The growth in the median and average sold price for residential property in Addison County continued into the first quarter of 2018.
The median price of single-family homes continues to rise year over year while the number of homes for sale hit a five year low. Starksboro, Vergennes, Lincoln and Middlebury lead the county in the number of sales closed – all posting healthy increases in the median sale price of single-family homes.
The number of land sales increased by 78% over the 1st quarter of 2017.
The number of new properties listed during the start of 2018 has increased, and the total number of homes available to purchase has stabilized.
Buyers are finding more home for their money in towns and cities close to Interstate 89 like Fairfax, St. Albans and Swanton– while vacation home purchases are driving median price increases in towns in the northeast part of the county.
While 6 properties sold this quarter compared to 7 during the 1st quarter of 2017, new properties coming on the market are generating multiple showings. With a small number of sales, the “days on the market” (from list to close) fluctuates wildly year over year. 5 of the 6 properties sold so far this year are lakefront properties from Grand Isle down to Ferrisburgh.
* The Luxury market is defined as properties selling for $850,000 & above.
The multi-family market showed a healthy increase in the median price sold and a big jump in the average price sold – driven largely by some high priced sales in Chittenden County.
With 24 closed transactions in Chittenden County during the 1st quarter and only 53 properties available during that time, the market remains competitive for investors. Although the days on the market from list to close increased over the same period last year, this still represents only 3.5 months on the market for closed properties- indicative of a typical “seller’s market”. Newer apartment complexes coming online have eased the historically low vacancy rate in the greater Burlington area a bit, however there is still strong demand from renters.
The number of sales for land has increased across Addison and Franklin Counties, where the median price of land is more affordable than nearby Chittenden County.
Still, as the availability of single family homes for sale across northwest VT continues at historic lows, buyers are turning toward land purchases in order to build their home. Permitting, development and building costs can contribute to higher than average prices for the home when complete – however buyers benefit from new, energy-efficient and in some cases, custom selections for their home. Developers looking for land in key locations have also contributed to some of increases.
If there is comfort in consistency, then rest easy about the real estate market. While other sectors of the U.S. economy have been erratic for the last few years, the real estate market has remained steady since 2015, and that is still the picture in northwestern Vermont.
The year 2017 ended as it started. Inventory remained tight, which caused steadfast price growth. The median price increased for each property type (single family, condos, multi-family, and land) in our four-county region, and the median price of a single-family home jumped by 4.5% to $277,000 compared to the end of 2016. The median condo price was up by 3.4%. These increases were due to declining inventory, which caused multiple-offer situations in some towns and drove prices upward.
Closed sales, by units, were flat to down except in one area: Land sales showed a whopping 5.6% increase over 2016. Since 2015, new listings of single-family homes have dropped by 13%, while newly listed condos have dipped by 12% — evidence to the trend of people moving less; during this same time period, only new listings for land have increased in northwestern Vermont.
Developers know housing inventory is tight, and that new listings have declined, so they are looking at land for new construction. They also know that new construction enhances the economy — from the employment of workers to build it, through the lifespan of the home — and generates new property tax revenue. Developers are building multi-unit neighborhoods such as South Village and Hillside at O’Brien Farm, both in South Burlington, which offer homes for buyers in various price ranges, living various lifestyles. Market trends are showing that buyers — especially Millennials — want smaller, energy-efficient properties with low taxes and small footprints, near communities with amenities. The in-demand price range is currently $250,000-$350,000.
As we mentioned in our last report, if sellers are committed to selling in this market, our agents recommend sellers keep their property on the market year-round. Sellers typically take their homes off the market during winter, but a market with tight inventory also produces more motivated buyers.
Furthermore, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the prime lending rate three times this year. Currently, it is just at 4% and is expected to be at 4.5% or 4.7% by the end of 2018, which will have a significant impact on the real estate market. A 1% increase in interest rate can reduce a buyer’s purchase power by approximately 10%. Coupled with another year of increasing median sales prices in the region, means buyers may want to consider purchasing early in 2018.
Whether you are a buyer or seller, be prepared. Buyers should consider a price point but be ready to be flexible in a competitive bidding process, if possible; and buyers should enter the shopping process with some level of pre-approval for financing with a local lender. Sellers should prepare their homes in advance for showings and inspections.
Buyers and sellers must first consider their personal situations. If buyers want to find a property in northwestern Vermont and plan to stay for a few years or longer, they will find something; and sellers should know those buyers are out there. Our thoughtful and creative Realtors are here to help make those connections for a successful closing, for everyone at the table.
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.