Vermont Real Estate - Market Update - June

School’s out, and as vaccination rates rise and America enters a new normal, the U.S. housing market continues along at a frenzied pace, with low-interest rates and limited inventory fueling record-high sales prices. May saw the median existing-home sales price exceed $350,000, a 24% increase and the largest year-over-year increase since 1999, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Eager buyers are making multiple offers, some for well over the asking price, while others are making offers on homes sight unseen.

New Listings decreased 3.3 percent for single-family homes but increased 27.1 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Pending Sales decreased 4.6 percent for single-family homes and 8.9 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Inventory decreased 43.9 percent for single-family homes and 34.0 percent for townhouse-condo properties.

The Median Sales Price was up 18.5 percent to $385,000 for single-family homes and 10.3 percent to $290,000 for townhouse-condo properties. Days on Market decreased 61.3 percent for single-family homes and 34.8 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 51.7 percent for single-family homes and 41.2 percent for townhouse-condo properties.

The increase in sales prices comes with a slight decline in existing home sales nationwide, as homebuyers struggle with declining affordability amid a lack of inventory, forcing some buyers to simply wait it out in hopes of more inventory and less competition. Meanwhile, home builders are trying to meet the increased market demand, with housing starts up 3.6% in May from April, according to the Commerce Department. As we ease into new routines and look forward to a post-pandemic future, one thing remains certain: America desperately needs more homes.


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    Time to Refinance: Mortgage Rates Dip Back Below 3%

    Ultra-low mortgage rates returned this week, with lenders offering home buyers and refinancers a chance once again to lock in a rate below 3%. But the National Association of REALTORS® warns that these low rates in the 2% range won’t last much longer, and mortgage rates likely will edge up soon. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.95% this week, Freddie Mac reports.

    “Mortgage rates are continuing to offer many homeowners the potential to refinance and increase their monthly cash flow,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Homeowners who refinanced their 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in 2020 saved more than $2,800 annually, Khater notes. “Substantial opportunity continues to exist today, as nearly $2 trillion in conforming mortgages have the ability to refinance and reduce their interest rate by at least half a percentage point.”

    Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending May 27:

    • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.95%, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 3% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.15%.
    • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.27%, with an average 0.6 point, falling from last week’s 2.29% average. A year ago, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.62%.
    • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.59%, with an average 0.2 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.13%.

    Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average points to better reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining a mortgage.


    Source: Freddie Mac and “Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, May 27, 2021,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (May 27, 2021)


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      May Market Report

      May was another strong month for real estate sales, check out the monthly snapshot below:

      Vermont Real Estate Market Report - May 2021


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        MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently released the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2020 Performance Report. The Report summarizes how the state’s $194 million investment in water quality over the past five years is paying off by improving water quality in Vermont’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

        While we can swim and fish in most of Vermont’s waters, some are impacted by water pollution. For example, excess phosphorus in Lake Champlain fuels potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms in some parts of the lake. The State of Vermont funds clean water projects to prevent and reduce nutrient and sediment pollution and restore and protect water quality statewide.

        Collectively, the state’s $194 million investment in water quality projects statewide has reduced pollution from over 90,000 acres of agricultural land, 200 miles of roadways, and 332 acres of pavement or other hard surfaces. In addition, 290 acres surrounding rivers, lakes, and wetlands were restored and over 1,200 acres were conserved to prevent and reduce pollution.

        The Report also summarizes five years of progress implementing Lake Champlain’s twenty-year restoration plan. Since 2016, water quality projects implemented through state and federal funding programs and regulatory programs have prevented 62,000 pounds of phosphorus pollution from entering Lake Champlain. This represents 13 percent of the required reduction for the lake to meet Vermont Water Quality Standards.

        “We’ve made significant progress over the past five years in Vermont. Since 2016, the State of Vermont has ramped up funding and regulatory programs and we anticipate results will continue to increase considerably,” said Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. “These early results are very encouraging. As a state, we need to continue to invest in Lake Champlain and other water bodies to ensure a full recovery in the coming years and decades.”

        Projects to improve lakes, rivers, and wetlands have economic, environmental, and social benefits. The influx of state funding to develop and carry out projects bolsters the local economy by increasing work opportunities for local organizations. Restoring streams and wetlands improves wildlife habitat, strengthens biodiversity, and protects towns against flooding. Healthy streams and lakes have been essential during the pandemic, with many Vermonters turning to outdoor activities, such as fishing and paddling, for socially distant recreation.

        Learn more about water quality in Vermont using two interactive tools, the Clean Water Project Explorer and the Clean Water Interactive Dashboard. The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a virtual event on Monday, February 8, 2021 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm to present the Performance Report and its companion online tools as part of the Clean Water Lecture Series. To join, please pre-register.

        Cold Spring Brook Dam During Hurricane Irene                            Cold Spring Brook Dam After Hurricane Irene

        Before and after photos of the Cold Spring Brook Park dam removal in the Town of Weston, which restored over 350 feet of stream to a more natural condition. Project funded by a Department of Environmental Conservation Clean Water Initiative Program grant. (Source: Weston Community Association)


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          Northern Vermont Market Update April 2021

          April was another strong month for home sales. The busy spring market continues to see many multiple offer situations driving sales prices above asking price. With such strong activity, by the time a property sale closes, the market may have already moved higher than that sold price suggests. Such markets can create stress and frustration for prospective homebuyers, who are frequently having to submit offers on multiple properties before they are able to secure a purchase.

          New Listings increased 102.3 percent for single-family homes and 77.6 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Pending Sales increased 128.7 percent for single-family homes and 81.1 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Inventory decreased 54.9 percent for single-family homes and 49.6 percent for townhouse-condo properties.

          The Median Sales Price was up 10.8 percent to $355,000 for single-family homes and 18.4 percent to $279,500 for townhouse-condo properties. Days on Market decreased 19.7 percent for single-family homes and 16.1 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 62.1 percent for single-family homes and 57.1 percent for townhouse-condo properties.

          In the spirit of the great Wayne Gretzky, buyers, sellers, and their agents are all trying their best to skate to where the puck, or rather, the housing market, is going, not where it has been. While housing affordability remains an area to watch as prices continue to rise, strong buyer demand and limited housing supply show no signs of easing soon, pointing to a continuation of this market trend through spring and into summer.

          Vermont Real Estate Market Report: April 2021


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            Now's the time to sell your home!

            2020 Is the Year to Sell Your Home! It's a Seller's Market....

            The Northern Vermont Board of Realtors tells us that January started off strong for the housing market in the region, with healthy buyer demand and strong market fundamentals.

            New Listings decreased 14.6 percent for single-family homes and 41.3 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Pending Sales increased 8.0 percent for single-family homes but decreased 18.6 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Inventory decreased 56.7 percent for single-family homes and 65.4 percent for townhouse-condo properties. Overall, the signs point to a continued Seller's Market.

            More specifically, in Chittenden County:

            The Median Sales Price for a Single Family home saw a 1.8% increase year-to-date versus 2020.

            While the Median Sales Price for a Condo/Townhouse also saw a 1.8% increase year-to-date.

            Chittenden County continues to outpace price increases for the entire Northern Vermont region and sellers are seeing significant benefits to selling in today's market.

            Worried about finding your next home? Don't be! That's what our team is here for, too. We have the knowledge and expertise to find that next safe spot to land when your current home sells! 




            Make the most of your Home Inspection

            Be Prepared for Your Home Inspection. A Good Inspection Leaves No Stone Unturned!

            Home inspection checklist:

            You should start preparing for a professional inspection when you initially tour the home, before making an offer. This will give you an idea if there are any areas you want the inspector to pay special attention to. A good inspector will address these issues in the report you pay for. Use this checklist to help figure out what to look for, both ahead of time and in the final report. If any of these items aren’t covered in the inspection report, ask why.

            Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Are there obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation? Do the same around the outside. Are there any trees encroaching on the foundation?

            Lot: Does the drainage appear to be away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy areas?

            Roof: What is the overall condition? When was it last replaced?

            Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?

            Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any signs of leaks?

            Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room.

            Basement: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)

            Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?

            Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks?

            Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?

            Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?

            Odor: Does the home smell? Can you detect what it might be and whether it could be fixed? Beware of musty odors which could signal a wet basement.