Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty's Northwest Vermont Mid Year 2016 Real Estate Market Report is an analysis of Northwest Vermont's mid year 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!
Market Overview for Northwest Vermont
The top-of-mind question with homebuyers and sellers in Northwest Vermont is whether the market’s recent healthy trends will continue. The answer, based on pricing and demand in the first half of 2016, is a definite “yes,” although tight inventory levels remain an issue in Chittenden County.
Demand was robust in the first six months of the year, with the number of residential sales rising 5.1% across our region’s four counties. Pricing rose slightly, with a 0.5% gain, although the area’s busiest region – Chittenden County – witnessed a 4.7% gain in median sale pricing.
Still, several economic concerns at the national and international level may be making consumers feel less confident, at least for the moment. Consumers remain “cautiously optimistic” about economic growth, according to the Conference Board’s June survey. The pending presidential election may cause some consumers to hesitate to commit to big purchases until after the vote. Additionally, the U.K. has voted to leave the European Union, which has added to concerns about the strength of the international economy.
The uncertainty has prompted the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates. The good news for the property market is that mortgage rates remain at near-record lows, which means lower borrowing costs for buyers or homeowners who want to refinance.
Regardless of inventory levels, our Realtors are finding that well-priced homes in good condition are enjoying strong demand from buyers. Before listing, sellers should consider upgrades and fixing deferred maintenance issues, since buyers may be less likely to bid on a home that needs work. “Smart-home” technology, for temperature control, lighting, and security, may also help your home stand out, especially with tech-savvy buyers.
Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Reality is forecasting continued steady growth in pricing and sales for 2016. Based on current trends, we believe sales volume may rise about 5 percent, while pricing could gain about 1% to 2%, or similar to the national forecast from the National Association of Realtors.
Inventory Level in Midrange Market Creates Opportunity for Sellers, Challenges for Buyers
After a strong 2015, Chittenden County is experiencing another healthy year, although with some headwinds thanks to tight inventory levels. With fewer homeowners listing their properties for sale, buyers are increasingly bidding up properties, especially in the “sweet spot” of homes priced between $250,000 to $400,000.
Essex and South Burlington were the most active towns during the first half of the year, with 166 and 141 transactions, respectively. Burlington, the third-most active town with 125 sales, has suffered from extremely tight inventory levels. New listings in Burlington have dropped by about one-third during the first six months of the year, pushing some buyers to search a wider geographic area. The median sale price in Burlington gained 3.5% during the first six months of 2016.
More Flexibility in the Over-$500,000 Market
While buyers are also interested in homes with a slightly higher price point, there is more availability with inventory priced above $500,000. Towns such as Shelburne and Charlotte, where the median sales price is almost $500,000, are witnessing strong demand so far this year.
Deep Luxury Inventory Offers Buyers Excellent Variety
After a slow start to 2016, the luxury market picked up as warmer weather arrived. During the first half of the year, the region recorded 18 sales of properties priced above $800,000.
Unlike the mid-priced segment for homes below $400,000, the luxury market continues to have deep inventory. As a result, the luxury segment remains tilted in favor of buyers, with some homes requiring years of marketing before the right buyer becomes interested. Some sellers have lowered their price expectations as a result of these dynamics.
The Northwest Vermont real estate market currently provides an excellent variety of choices for high-end buyers, given the number of luxury lakefront estates and mountain homes that are now available. While Shelburne remains a popular location for luxury buyers, we have seen few sales over $800,000 in many surrounding towns including Burlington, Charlotte, Williston, and South Burlington.
Because of the high inventory levels for homes priced above $800,000 and the time required to sell them, some buyers remain hesitant to commit to a purchase. Executives who are relocating to Vermont and may only remain in the state for a few years may be especially concerned about these trends.
As buyers continue to search for property this summer and fall, sellers should prepare their homes to be competitive in the luxury market. Competitive pricing and addressing deferred maintenance, landscaping issues, and decluttering remain essential.