Relocating. Moving Up. Downsizing. Moving On …

Market Update: June 2016

SOLDJune is traditionally the peak of the real estate market in Northwest Vermont – with the highest number of property sales closing and buyer activity still strong. This year, a decline in inventory is affecting the market in a number of ways. InChittenden County, 10% less residential inventory coming on the market has translated to the same number of closed sales as in 2015 (715)- but a 6% increase in the median sale price. This represents a modest appreciation in value, multiple buyers making offers on well-maintained, well priced homes and increased sales of mid to higher end properties. Investor activity remains strong with an additional 10 multi-family properties closing, and an increased median sale price of $380,000 (a 23% increase over the same period last year).

The trends in Chittenden County bode well for neighboring Franklin County. Despite a slight decline in the number of residential properties coming on the market, the number of closed sales for the year has increased by 21% (an additional 42 homes sold.) And these sales are closing more quickly than last year; on average, homes are on the market for 109 days (listing to closing) vs. 148 days in 2015! Properties that have been on the market for an extended period of time are now selling as buyers search for affordable options. The median sale price in Franklin County is $198,800 vs. $279,900 in Chittenden County.

In Addison county, residential sales are showing a slight uptick for 2016 as the 2nd quarter gains momentum with a 10% increase in properties going “under contract”. The bright spot in the market is land sales. So far this year, 45 pieces of land have gone under contract or closed as compared to 25 lots in 2015. The median sale price for land is $92,000.

The season may just be getting started for Grand Isle County, as vacationers enjoy the lake shore communities. Contrary to the other counties in northwest Vermont, there is an increase in properties coming on the market; however, the sales are increasing as well with a 14% increase in sold, single family homes during the 2nd quarter.

If you have considered selling your property, now may be the time to do so. I’d be happy to meet with you to advise you on preparing your home for the current market – be it taking care of some deferred maintenance, staging the interior, making some “Smart Home” improvements and pricing to best position your home for today’s buyer.

Relax… with a summer to do list
While you’re enjoying the long days of summer, what could be more relaxing than tackling a few home improvement projects that will give you peace of mind, comfort… & a little savings?

Price, location, and condition will always be key selling points of a property. However, energy and utility costs are also important factors in the cost of home-ownership.

We asked Patty Tashiro of Fruitfull Energy, an energy consultant in South Burlington, for a couple of small, energy-saving measures that a homeowner could tackle in one summer afternoon.

“The first step is knowing what uses the greatest amount of energy in your home,” says Patty Tashiro.

Start with the Biggest Energy User

On average 31% of your energy costs are spent on heating your home. If you are a Vermont Gas customer, pick up the phone and see if you qualify for a free audit(802-863-4511). Let trained professionals do the work and organize the contractors, while you enjoy the benefits of greater comfort, in the winter AND summer, and lower costs in the future.

You can also install a Programmable Thermostat. Simply by turning your thermostat back 7 – 10 degrees during the hours you’re at work or asleep, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling. One popular programmable thermostat (or wiFi thermostat) is the NEST, which also allows you to control your thermostat from your mobile device. A wiFi Thermostat unit is a way for homeowners to add smart technology features to their home at a cost of $99 – $250, depending on the unit. The technology has advanced allowing additional brands to enter the marketplace. Learn about and compare the brands here.

Lighting is Low Cost & High Return

Changing a light bulb is easy for any weekend warrior and can add up to $165 savings per year. By swapping out your incandescent bulbs for an LED bulb not only will you save, but the average lifespan of an LED bulb is 20 years – 25 times longer than incandescent. Don’t just change one. Buy in bulk & change them all.

New Appliances are Good Investments

If you’re looking to update some of your appliances, be sure to check out the current rebates offered by Efficiency Vermont . Did you know if you’re considering updating your dryer – it may be cheaper to also update your washing machine at the same time as most operate at the highest efficiency when paired together. Thinking of buying a new refrigerator & moving the old one into the garage? Believe it or not, it is even cheaper to buy TWO new ones, as the old ‘gas guzzler’ of a fridge can’t compare in efficiency to new models! It is best to recycle it and make the new one work for you. Or purchase a smaller, new one, to handle the overflow from the garden at harvest time!

Have more questions or interested in getting an energy assessment on your home?Contact Patty Tashiro of Fruitfull Energy… and have fun as she helps you ‘Reduce the Juice!’ Live in South Burlington or know someone who does? Learn more about the South Burlington Energy Prize.

VOTE LOCAL!
We are proud to have been voted “BEST REAL ESTATE AGENCY” for the last 7 consecutive years. Can you help us make it 8? Cast your vote for your local favorites in the Seven Daysies.

Daysies

Eileen Townsend Named to Top 2% of CB Realtors Worldwide

Eileen-Townsend

From the Desk of Leslee MacKenzie,
CEO, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman

It is with great pleasure that I announce, Coldwell Banker International has awarded Eileen Townsend with the prestigious Coldwell Banker International Presdients Elite award. Only the top 2% of all Coldwell Banker Sales Associates worldwide qualified for this honor.

At Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty, we strive to provide innovative real estate solutions creating exceptional experiences for our clients and customers.  To that end, we survey every home buyer and seller regarding their experience working with one of our Agents. We take great pride in achieving a 97% satisfaction rating among our clients. Read for yourself what one of Eileen’s clients had to say:

“Eileen Townsend is outstanding. Knowledgeable, dependable, professional, and caring.”

It is through Eileen’s relationships and the referrals of past clients and friends, like you, that she will continue to thrive in our local real estate market.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Sincerely,

Leslee MacKenzie

President & Owner

The New Rules of Real Estate

Real State

The “Recovered” Economy and entry of the Millennial Generation into the home-buying marketplace have reshaped our real estate world in surprising ways. I’ve collected excerpts from Consumer Reports’ “The Real State of Real Estate,” March, 2016 issue to share with you:

The Recovered Economy:

  • In 2012, 1/3 of all homeowners owed more on their mortgages than market would bear.
  • U.S. home prices, adjusted for inflation, have barely appreciated year to year over the past 120 years, according to Yale economist Robert Shiller.

The Millennial Effect:

  • Millennials were the top buying demographic in 2013 and 2014.
  • 41% of millennials who rent still owe $30,700 on average in college debt and almost 25% pay more than 50% of their income for housing.
  • Millennials are looking for proximity to friends and family, short commutes, and walkability in housing.
  • Millennial buyers are looking for move-in ready homes; they don’t want to have to renovate or do a lot of work.
  • “When a home is move-in ready and buyers know they can be cooking in the kitchen from day one and entertaining in the backyard that very weekend, you know you’ve got a winner.”

The Singles Market:

  • The expectation is that by 2025 there will be as many single-person households in the U.S. as there are homes with families.  In 1985, single women accounted for 10% of buyers.  By 2005, single women accounted for 21% of buyers; single men accounted for only 9%.

Boomers and Bouncebacks:

  • Boomers now head up 40% of U.S. households and control 54% of total household wealth.
  • A 2015 survey by the Demand Institute found that 2/3 of boomers plan to stay put, often in the same suburban homes where they raised families.
  • The 36.4% of women ages 18 to 34 who lived with their parents in 2014 was the highest level since 1940. Even more adult men (42.8%) lived at home in 2014.

Advice for Sellers:

  • Let the following renovation rules, driven by shifts in the current housing market and informed by Consumer Reports’ nationally representative survey of 1,573 millennials, inform your decisions on improving your home and its value:
    • A modern/updated kitchen topped the list of ideal home features in a survey of millennials.
    • You should be able to add a new suite of appliances as well as a new countertop and flooring for $5,000.
    • Quartz has started to challenge granite and marble as the go-to material in higher-end kitchens. Expect to spend $40-$100 per square foot, installed.
    • An “open floor plan with flexible living space” was second only to an updated kitchen on millennials’ list of most desired features.
    • “Your home has to look better on the day of the open house than it’s ever looked before.” – Steve Clark, a real estate professional in Los Angeles.

Click here for the full story at www.consumerreports.org

 

Year End Review & Trends to Watch

Before we close the books on 2015, I wanted to share our Early 2016 Vermont Market Report, including a complete year end review market and trends to watch for 2016.

Across Northwest Vermont, including Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties, sales jumped 12.1% and median sale price was up 3.4% in 2015. Job creation is strong. Mortgage rates are stable. These are all great indicators for a healthy market in 2016. With that said, real estate truly is hyper local. Trends vary by town, price point, condition of property — even your personal situation. Demand for housing in the under $350,000 range remains the greatest, particularly given the emergence of first-time buyers. In 2015, 37% of the buyers we worked with were making an investment in their future by purchasing their first home. However, inventory in this price range remains tight.

Below you will find a summary with quick links to our current report. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Chittenden County
The most active real estate market in the region, the number of residential sales jumped 14.9% with the median price rising 3.1%. Several towns benefited from a surge in home-buying, including Burlington and Essex, where the number of sales rose 22.5% and 16.1%, respectively. See a town by town comparison in Chittenden County

Franklin County
Franklin County remains a popular location for professionals seeking homes below $200,000. The number of residential sales rose 6.4%, while median pricing gained 1.9 percent. Living in Franklin County continues to provide housing options and economical alternatives for commuters working in Chittenden County. See a town by town comparison in Franklin County

Grand Isle
Residential sales in Grand Isle rose 18.9%, but buyers sought lower-priced inventory than in 2014. That led to the county’s median sale price to decline by 14.5%. It’s important to note that as Grand Isle is Northwest Vermont’s least active county for real estate transactions, a small number of sales can have a relatively large impact on pricing trends. See a town by town comparison in Grand Isle County

Addison County
Property sales increased 3.9% last year, while the median sale price rose 4.7%. A stronger economy has encouraged some professionals to make their first home purchase. In particular, Middlebury saw sharply higher sales and pricing than last year. See a town by town comparison in Addison County

Changes in American Homeownership Rates

American homeownership rates have shifted over the years.  Get the statistics in this detailed infographic from RISMedia:

Infographic: The Changing Face of the American Homeowner

Fall 2015 Market Report

fall 2015We have just released the Fall 2015 Vermont Market Report, including market results and trends through September.

After a strong spring, our local real estate market continued to see healthy demand this past summer and early fall. Across Northwest Vermont, including Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties, sales jumped 13.7% during the first nine months of the year. The median sale price rose 2.9%.

As I often remind clients, the real estate market truly is hyper local. Trends vary by town, neighborhood, price point — even your personal situation. Below you will find a high level summary with quick links to our current report.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Chittenden County
After a strong start to the year, Vermont’s most populous county continued to see a pickup in demand and pricing. The number of unit sales jumped 17%, with 14 out of the county’s 17 municipalities recording more transactions than a year earlier. Towns with significantly more activity include Burlington, Essex and Colchester. Median sale pricing rose 2.8% compared with a year-earlier.
See a town by town comparison in Chittenden County

Franklin County
Franklin County is attractive to buyers seeking housing in the sub-$200,000 range, given that the county offers more options below that price point than neighboring Chittenden County. That helped boost the number of residential sales by 2.7 percent, while median pricing gained 4.3 percent. With gas prices continuing to stay low, the county has become a more economical option for commuters.
See a town by town comparison in Franklin County

Grand Isle
More buyers are seeking property in Grand Isle, but at lower prices than a year earlier. Because of that, the county’s median sale price slipped 18 percent during the first 9 months of the year. Despite the lower median sale price, the number of transactions jumped 10.8%. It’s important to note that as Grand Isle is Northwest Vermont’s least active county for real estate transactions, a small number of sales can have a relatively large impact on pricing trends.
See a town by town comparison in Grand Isle County

Addison County
Property sales rose 14.2% during the first nine months of the year, while the median sale price rose 2.4%. A stronger economy and lower gas prices are bringing more buyers into the market. Middlebury, the biggest real estate market in the county, witnessed significant gains in pricing and unit sales through September.
See a town by town comparison in Addison County

How does YOUR home compare?
With such a strong report, you may be wondering how your OWN home compares with market-wide trends. If you are thinking about preparing for market, I am of course happy to stop over and help determine what your home may sell for as we end 2015, or as we open up for the new market Spring 2016 market. As pointed out in the summary above, real estate activity is HYPER-local – what your home might sell for really (and ALWAYS) comes down to how buyers perceive its value – in its current condition, on your street and in your neighborhood, with however the economy is behaving this week.

If you want a realistic, well informed valuation, I DO offer a quick and easy tool to help my clients and customers get a better idea of how their home compares to overall market trends. It’s an online valuation tool that I have purchased after evaluating many such tools. You can use it to see recent activity in your neighborhood, you can see what factors are being used to assign value to your home (and if they are accurate), and you can let me know if you need to update or correct factors so that this and any online home valuation can be more accurate.

Just go to BTVHomeValues.SmartHomePrice.com and log in. You will soon after receive via email a pretty detailed report that provides a home value that is more local, current, and market-sensitive than most online estimates I’ve seen in my 12 years in the business.

Of course, if you are thinking of selling – this year, next year, or soon – please call me (734-6937) to pay a personal visit and help you arrive at a price, make the right preparations, and approach the market wisely for the best chance of achieving your goals!

It’s Easier to Get a Mortgage in 2015!

Confused or concerned about whether and how to set up your mortgage? Kiplinger Personal Finance to the rescue: Here’s a respectable update on the very gradual easing of lenders’ purse-strings, ideas for strategizing your next home purchase, and a few steps even I was surprised you can get away with these days.

It’s Easier to Get a Mortgage

Moving and Living with Pets

There is something uniquely beautiful about coming home to find a four-legged friend bounding to the door to greet you with a wagging tail and a wide toothy grin.  Whether you’re planning to invite a new dog into your home or you’re getting ready to pack up with Fido and move, the links below will provide you with some important tips that will help you make sure all your family members feel at home.

 

A Dog Owner’s Guide to Home Buying

Moving With Pets

How to Install a Dog Door

3 Tips for Welcoming Home an Adopted Dog

 

Honored to be At Your Service … and We’re Growing!

Eileen-Townsend

From the Desk of Leslee MacKenzie,
CEO, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman

It is with great pleasure that I announce, Coldwell Banker International has awarded Eileen Townsend with the prestigious Coldwell Banker International Presdients Elite award. Only the top 2% of all Coldwell Banker Sales Associates worldwide qualified for this honor.

At Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty, we strive to provide innovative real estate solutions creating exceptional experiences for our clients and customers.  To that end, we survey every home buyer and seller regarding their experience working with one of our Agents. We take great pride in achieving a 97% satisfaction rating among our clients. Read for yourself what one of Eileen’s clients had to say:

“Eileen Townsend is outstanding. Knowledgeable, dependable, professional, and caring.”

It is through Eileen’s relationships and the referrals of past clients and friends, like you, that she will continue to thrive in our local real estate market.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Leslee MacKenzie

President & Owner

Want a voice in rules governing licensing for Vermont Property Inspectors?

The vast majority of home buyers pay to have the property they are buying undergo a professional, third-party inspection prior to closing their purchase. For the first time, the State of Vermont is requiring that property inspectors become licensed and regulated by the Secretary of State’s office. A variety of rules regarding acceptable educational standards, ethics, and standards of practice have been proposed (see them here). A public hearing is being held March 17, 2015 at 10 am at the Secretary of State’s office in Montpelier. Please feel free to address questions and concerns to: sos.propertyinspectors@sec.state.vt.us .