While apartment hunting in Northwest Vermont remains competitive, renters are in a better position than a year ago, thanks to a higher vacancy rate and stabilizing rents. The following are some trends that are impacting the rental market:
The Vacancy Rate Is Easing
The vacancy rate stood at 3% in December, almost double the 15-year average of 1.6%, according to real estate consulting firm Allen & Brooks. With 3,500 new apartments being constructed across Chittenden County, that’s providing more options for renters, such as Finney Crossing in Williston and Riverrun in Winooski. Almost 600 new apartments will open in 2016 alone, Allen & Brooks forecasts.
Renters Have More Choices
With developers opening new apartment buildings, renters have more options, such as whether to look for a recently constructed building or housing in the older homes found in the Old North End of Burlington, for instance. Our Agents find that the rents are often comparable, although the newer buildings often include amenities – such as covered parking – that aren’t available with older apartments.
More Wiggle Room with Rents
Because of the higher vacancy rate and new apartments coming to the market, renters are finding some financial breathing room after 15 years of annual average increases of 3.1%. Monthly rents are stabilizing, and our Agents believe that rents may see some softness in coming months.
Prepare to Search Two Months Before a Move
Our Agents advise renters to start searching for a new apartment 45 days to 60 days before they need to move. Landlords typically market their apartments within that time frame, and hunting for a new home can still be competitive.
A Vibrant Local Economy
Large local employers such as the UVM Medical Center continue to hire, while industries such as the technology sector are growing and adding workers. Relocating families and professionals often want to rent before committing to buying, which is adding to demand for rental properties.
Chittenden County’s Rental Market Insights
- The county’s vacancy rate is 3%, significantly below the national average of 4.4%.
- Rents have increased 3.1% annually since 2001.
New Interest in Old Neighborhoods
Professionals are increasingly drawn to the Old North End of Burlington because it’s within walking distance to downtown and offers more affordable rents than other neighborhoods, Allen & Brooks notes. Likewise, Winooski has earned a reputation as “The Brooklyn of Vermont” because of its excellent new restaurants and cheaper rents, which is drawing more professionals to the city. Developers are responding by constructing higher-end buildings in these areas, such as the Packard Lofts in the Old North End and Riverrun in Winooski.
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.