Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty's Northwest Vermont Early 2016 Real Estate Market Report is an analysis of Northwest Vermont's third quarter market results. Read on to find out current market trends in your town. Contact me today with questions on your LOCAL real estate market!
This report provides detailed real estate market information on Chittenden County, Franklin County, Grand Isle County and Addison County counties. Having up-to-date information on current real estate market conditions in your area can help you both as a Buyer and a Seller! If you have any questions about this report or want to talk about a specific property or locale, please contact me today!
Healthy Gains in Pricing and Demand
The local economy continues to be healthy buoyed by the strong inducstries of healthcare, technology and education, by hiring at larger employers such as the University of Vermont and Dealer.com, and techonology start-ups which pull in mid-career professionals form out of state as well as employing graduates from local colleges.
Vermont's unemployment rate stood at 3.7% this November, making it one of the lowest in the country. Chittenden County's unemployment rate reached a 15-year low at 2.5% during thre same month.
Millenials are on track to become the countyr's largest home-buying demographic. In Vermont, these younger consusmers are emerging as first-time buyers thanks to record low interest rates and relatively high rents, which makes home ownership a more attractive alternative. A Coldwell Banker survey last year found 37% of our clients had just purchased their first home.
Housing in the $250,000 to $350,000 range remains the sweet spot in our market, especially given the emergence of first-time millennial homebuyers. Property in the over-$500,000 range, however, can take longer to sell, and inventory in the upper ranges has been growing because of affordability issues. The luxury segment, or properties priced above $800,000, now has a three-year supply of inventory.
The National Association of Realtors forecasts a median price increase of 4% to 5% and existing home sales rising 1% to 2% in 2016.
Locally, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty is forecasting steady growth in pricing and sales for 2016, after last year's 12% gain in residential transactions and 3.4% boost to the region's median sale price.
Preparing Your Home for Sale?
As for sellers preparing their home for sale, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty recommends taking care of deferred maintenance issues prior to listing. Also, consider installing new "smart home" technology. These devices are relatively affordable, and consumers are increasingly embracing the technology, according to a joint survey from Coldwell Banker and technology site CNET. On top of that, smart devices such as Nest's thermostat can help save money by conserving power and water, which will make your home even more appealing to buyers.
Chittenden County, the most active real estate market in our region, recorded significantly more residential sales in 2015, thanks to stronger local and national economies and record low interest rates. Median sale prices rose 3.1 percent, representing a healthy and sustainable increase.
Above-average temperatures during the fall helped maintain some buyers' interest in pursuing their home searches, capping off what had been a strong spring and summer. Typically, colder weather can lead to some home buyers curtailing their searches until spring returns.
Read more on the current Chittenden County Market by clicking here!
Burlington continues to draw homebuyers, including first-time buyers and those looking to move into bigger properties or downsize. The city's residential sales surged by 22.5% last year, making it one of the county's most active towns. Still, the median sale price slipped by 2.2%, reflecting demand for lower-priced inventory in the New North End and Old North End. Our Realtors also note that some Burlington sales represented older homes with deferred maintenance, which provided buyers with greater bargaining power and opportunity to build equity.
Sales of properties above $800,000 picked up in 2015, with our Realtors noting that 2015's luxury sales represented an increase of more than 25 percent from a year earlier. Additional sales in 2015 may fuel future activity by providing market comparables that help support purchaser's decision making and provide appraisers with current market sales.
Even with the increased activity, the luxury segment still remains a buyer's market, given that our region has a three-year inventory of homes listed for more than $800,000. In Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty's experience, high-end homes can potentially require years to find a buyer, and many sellers have had to lower their price expectations.
Given the three-year inventory, some prospective buyers are increasingly cautious about purchasing homes in the above-$800,000 range, given that it may take them years to sell if they later decide to move.
Resurgence of "In-Town" Properties
Buyers are increasingly looking for high-end homes that are close to Burlington and its amenities such as restaurants and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Estates with mountain views and large acreage have also proved popular.
Given the choices available to luxury buyers, buyers are seeking properties with no deferred maintenance issues. Homes that show well - such as those that have been repainted recently, have no clutter, and excellent landscaping - are also performing better with buyers.