Chittenden County Sees Strong Buyer Demand, but Low Inventory of Homes for Sale

Enjoy amazing sunsets and westerly views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from this very well kept Burlington Lakefront Cottage. MLS# 4638168

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$322,500 (+4%)$367,324 (+3.5%)948 (+0.1)1323 (-7.9%)70 (-5.4%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$232,500 (+4.4%)$260,328 (+5.3%)465 (-7.7%)581 (-6.4%)85 (+23.2%)

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.


Addison County Experience an Uptick to Homes Sales

Stunning Post and Beam Colonial built in 1837 and beautifully restored in Ferrisburgh. | MLS# 4502106


Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$255,000 (+11.1%)$279,539 (+9.7%)256 (+6.2%)470 (-6.9%)132 (-7%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$191,000 (+12.4%)$254,520 (+22.5%)17 (+70%)17 (-19%)71 (+9.2%)

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.


After 2 Years of Growth, Franklin County See 12% Drop in Home Sales

Picturesque brick farmhouse situated on 5 acres in Highgate. | MLS# 4634801

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$212,500 (+2.2%)$214,728 (+3.3%)393 (-11.9%)651 (-8.6%)122 (+15.1%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$196,688 (-0.7%)$211,761 (+3.6%)34 (+30.8%)52 (-17.5%)129 (-40.3%)

Franklin County remains the most affordable county included in this report. The median price of single-family homes sold YTD is $212,500, compared to $322,500 in nearby Chittenden County.

The tightening of Chittenden County inventory during the past few years has sent buyers north to Franklin County and south to Addison County, in search of more affordable properties.

While the number of homes sold in Franklin County has jumped by 20% since Q3 2014, inventory of available homes for sale has not kept pace with demand. Since Q3 2014, single-family homes available for sale has declined 30%.

After two years of healthy growth in terms of sale price and units sold, single-family home sales dropped nearly 12% YTD – an indication of market normalization and low inventory. Construction of new condominiums in the county have remained in demand, with a steady increase of 30% in the number of transactions closed.

Grand Isle County Homes Sales in 8.7% Year Over Year

This South Hero Cape home needs updating but once completed, you will have a real beauty. | MLS# 4664525

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$238,000 (+8.8%)$269,634 (+8%)233 (+8.7%)133 (-7.9%)145 (-13.2%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$246,000 (+64%)$246,000 (+64%)1 (0%)3 (+200%)6 (-96.8%)

The largest increase in the number of home sales can be found in Grand Isle – with an 8.7% increase year over year.  However, the relatively small numbers can have a greater effect on the statistics.

Grand Isle County reports the fewest number of sales of the 4 counties included in this report at 100 single family homes and 1 condo sold year to date 2017. A steady but moderate decrease in homes available for sale and an increase in single-family sales has driven the median sale price up 8.8% to $238,000.

Grand Isle typically sees stronger sales during the summer months. 45 single home sold during the 3rd quarter which represents 45% of the total year’s sales; this pace has been consistent since 2015 while the number of homes available during the summer months has declined 10% since 2015.

The average days on the market before a home sells has dropped 22 days to 145. While this is the longest period to closing for the 4 counties in the report, it is less than 5 months. Well priced homes in good condition will be of interest to savvy buyers.

Third Quarter Multi-Family Sales Saw a 12.5% Increase

This Burlington 6-unit, 25 bedroom apartment building offers easy to rent modern apartments. | MLS# 4659673
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:
$274,000 (-13%)$329,430 (-7.1%)101(-1.9%)

Sales and prices of multi-family properties in all four counties have been soft through 2017, but there were significant and strong signs of improvement in the third quarter — especially in Chittenden County and its population centers.

The number of multi-family properties sold in Q3 increased by 12.5% with the average sale price increasing by 4%. Our Realtors have noticed that optimism over recent Burlington development projects, such as the redevelopment of the Burlington Town Centre, has generated interest from out-of-state investors — from New York City and Boston, more specifically — who want to diversify their portfolios with affordable multi-family properties. The quick movement of well-maintained, well-located multi-family properties has produced multiple-offers in many cases.

Finally, our Realtors have noticed that buyers who are priced out of the single-family housing market are investing in owner-occupied duplexes; this way, they can still own a home while putting their tenant’s rent toward their mortgage.

The Sale of Luxury Homes has Increased 35% Over 2016

Catering to every desire, this custom built home in Colchester has it all! | MLS# 4646487
Luxury Home Market  
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:
$1,075,000 (-1%)$1,282,935 (-1%)27 (+35%)

Of the 13 properties that sold during the first half 2017, 11 are located in Chittenden County, 1 property is in Grand Isle County and 1 property is in Addison County.    

A Country home with mountain views, luxury condominiums, a contemporary lakefront dwelling near downtown Burlington and an antique lakefront home in Ferrisburgh are just some of the sales that closed during the first 6 months of 2017. The majority of the luxury sales were away from the lake and closer proximity to amenities offered in the greater Burlington area.

With a small number of transactions, the average sold price can be dramatically affected – which is the case this year. In the first half of 2016, 4 of the 15 units closed were priced above $1.5 million; two of those closed priced over $2.0 million. In 2017, the highest priced property sold (as reported in the MLS) has been $1.395 million.

With more than 105 properties for sale, the Luxury market in Northwest Vermont provides plenty of options for buyer seeking properties in the range of $850,000 and higher. And sellers have grown more flexible in their expectations on prices and negotiations.

Chittenden County Rental Prices Continue to Rise

Vermont Rental Market

Rents continue to rise in Chittenden County, according to real estate consulting company Allen, Brooks & Minor. For example, the one-bedroom apartment that fetched $888 a month in 2014 can now attract $1,033.

On the higher end, a three-bedroom apartment that cost $1,033 in 2014; now costs $1,855, according to Allen, Brooks & Minor data.
Executive-level apartments in expensive complexes — where exercise and dog washing facilities are included in the monthly rent — are collecting as much as $2,000 a month.

Our Realtors speculate that high rents could actually make the housing market attractive to potential first-time homebuyers who might want to stop paying high rent.

Also, newly constructed apartment buildings in Chittenden County are creating new housing stock that will better meet the needs of relocating professionals.

College students still dominate the rental market in the Burlington area, and student properties are still moving quickly, because they are a continuous source of revenue. With new housing options coming online for students, such as a 315-bed dormitory for Champlain College, demand for off-campus rentals may taper.

Mid-Year 2017

Exceptional luxury Condo with an amazing water view. MLS# 4647794
Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$270,000 (+2.66%)$302,852 (+2.24%)954 (-6.29%)1827 (-5.87%)104 (0%)
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$230,000 (+3.84%)$259,399 (+7.78%)313 (-5.72%)416 (-7.96%)100 (+20.48%)

The Mid-Year point is an important milestone for real estate trends.  We are in the midst of the traditional “height of the market” – when sellers opt to list their homes and buyers search in what historically would have been peak inventory levels of the Spring.  Closings on real estate sales surge in June, July and August in between the school year, vacations, new household formation and other life events that typically drive the market.  Our Mid- Year report will recap the inventory and sales of property during the 1st six months – and provide a snapshot of trends we may see in the Fall of 2017.

2017 has seen consistent buyer interest, however, the decline in available homes for sale has limited sales.

Units sold decreased during the first half of 2017 over the same period in 2016 while the sales are flat compared to the same period in 2015.
Over the past 3 years the number of single family homes available for sale during the 2nd quarter of the year (typically the height of the real estate season in Northwest VT) has declined from 2906 to 2206 – a 24% decline or 700 units less– while homes going “under contract” during the same period have increased by 151 units or 29% during the same period. This has shifted the market into the sellers’ favor especially in the sweet spot – the mid-priced range of $200,000- $400,000. One reason for this trend may be that sellers are living in their homes longer. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median tenure for sellers has increased to 10 years from a historical median of 5 to 7 years.

Newly listed, well-priced properties in good condition are selling quickly as savvy buyers search online and receive regular updates from their agents – ready to jump when the right property comes on the market. In some towns, the shortage of new listings coupled with buyer demand resulted in the absorption of listed properties that have been on the market for quite some time.

While both the median and average sold prices in single family and condos are showing increases, single family home prices appear to be more stable than the increases demonstrated in condos. In general, the increase in the average sold price of condos is a result of new construction projects at prices above the average and product mix versus appreciation of existing inventory.

In a recent Burlington Free Press article by Art Woolf, he noted that while Vermont’s population has declined slightly since the 2010 census – “Addison, Chittenden, and Franklin Counties have experienced growth over that period.” He further goes on to note that the fastest growing towns (by population) “are, in general, north of Burlington with easy access to I-89.” Our Market Reports over the past 2 years have reflected that trend as buyers searched outside of the Burlington area for more inventory and affordable home prices.

Land sales have stabilized after increased sales in 2016 as homeowners searched for alternatives while inventory was low. Many buyers have decided to “right size” their living accommodations with energy efficient, low maintenance newly built homes rather than purchase existing, older inventory that may need extensive renovations or are no longer meeting current needs or desires.

Mortgage rates are still historically low after a climb in late 2016 and some volatility during the first few months of 2017. Most predictions are that rates will remain steady for the remainder of the year. Any change to mortgage rates will affect buying power when affordability remains an issue. For example, an increase of .5% (one-half percent) in interest rate may reduce purchasing power approximately 5%. So, even though prices are rising slightly and inventory is limited, buyers who are serious about realizing their goal of homeownership this year should be ready to make an offer quickly – with the advice of their agent.

As always, it remains that both sellers and buyers need to reflect on their personal situation. We look forward to working with you to identify your next move.

The rental vacancy rate declined from 4.4% in December 2016 to 2.5% in June 2017

South Village Rental Units in South Burlington. |

The rental market in Chittenden County is rapidly changing due to a surge of newly constructed apartment buildings.

With almost 700 newly constructed apartment units coming online in 2016, the rental market is showing more favorable signs for renters. A slight increase in the vacancy rate is giving renters more options in their apartment searches, while also prompting some landlords to offer more flexible terms or incentives to attract new tenants – most often in the “off season”.

New rental buildings include Bartlett Brook, a 63-unit building in South Burlington, and the 67-unit Bayberry Commons in Burlington. South Village, a community of single family homes and townhomes in South Burlington, also offers a limited number of townhomes for lease. Demand has been high for these spacious two level units with private entrances and underground parking.

Our Rental Specialist is forecasting that rent increases will moderate in 2017. Rents may decline on some older apartments that lack the amenities offered by newer competition. It’s likely that the pressure on rents will continue throughout the year, given that another 323 apartment units are projected to come on the market in 2017, according to real estate consulting company Allen & Brooks.

Even though the vacancy rate has eased, our Rental Specialist continues to recommend an apartment search no more than 30 to 45 days before a move.

The following are some trends that are impacting the rental market:

Decline in Vacancy Rate
The vacancy rate declined from 4.4% in December 2016 to 2.5% in June 2017, according to Allen & Brooks. While this is a slightly higher rate than past years, it remains a competitive market for renters.

Wider range of choices

The construction surge means renters have more options than in previous years. The newly constructed buildings typically have higher rents, yet some renters prefer them because of the amenities, such as parking, gyms, recreation trails, storage, pet grooming, and swimming pools.

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.


Chittenden County “Days on the Market until Sale” has dropped to under 80 days for single family homes

Stunning 3+ bedroom home with lovely mountain views on a beautiful 14.95 acres in Charlotte. | MLS# 4639851

Single Family    
Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$319,000 (+2.94%)$354,560 (+0.1%)540 (-4.76)879 (-5.8%)77 (-6.1%)

Median Sale Price:Average Sale Price:Units Sold:Newly Listed:Days on Market:
$232,200 (+3.11%)$262,870 (+7.26%)279 (-9.71%)374 (-5.79%)97 (+27.63%)

The residential property market in Chittenden County continues to see strong demand from buyers while inventory remains tight. 

The number of newly listed, single-family homes continued a 3-year decline adversely affecting the number of homes sold in the county – which declined by nearly 5% for single family and nearly 10% for condos over the same period last year. While these results reflect the County overall, there were some increased sales in specific cities and towns.

Burlington, South Burlington, and Winooski witnessed increases in single family homes sold and newly listed property. However, this is a recovery from a soft 2016 – where these cities suffered declines before the surrounding areas. South Burlington leads the county in the number of homes and condos coming on the market – a result of new construction in developments such as South Village, Rye Meadows, and some smaller projects along Dorset Street. Towns a bit further from the greater Burlington area continue to draw buyers searching for affordable options such as Milton, Underhill, Huntington, and Westford.

The majority of Multi-Family sales in Northwest Vermont are in Chittenden County which suffered a sharp decline of 11.8% in the median price of closed sales. This is a result of the 31% drop in units sold as investors opted to hold on to their properties.

Throughout this report, we reference Median price. The median price is defined as – “half the houses sold for more and half sold for less”.