THE VERMONT LUXURY MARKET IS IMPROVING
- Bennington, Chittenden, Lamoille, Windham, and Windsor counties command the most sales above $1 million.
- The number of luxury sales continued to improve in 2016, with 111 sales in 2016 compared to 97 sales in 2015, a 14% increase and 2017 appears to be off to a strong start as well.
- Despite this, the number of available luxury properties remains relatively high.
- Vermont at the year’s end had 306 properties listed at over $1 million (about 4.5 years of inventory).
STOWE DOMINATES NORTHERN VERMONT LUXURY SALES
The Lake Champlain Valley (Chittenden, Addison, and Grand Isle counties) as well as those counties north of I-89 (Washington, Lamoille, Franklin Orange, Essex, and Orleans counties) comprise the Northern Vermont Region and saw a total of 41 sales in 2016, compared to 38 sales in 2015. Typical of the regional pattern in Vermont, 27 of those sales occurred in just two counties, Chittenden and Lamoille, fueled by Burlington and Stowe.
Lamoille County luxury sales are driven by Stowe, with 17 sales above $1 million in 2016, or $70 million dollars, the fastest growing second home market in New England per Vermont Property Owners Report. Stowe Mountain Resort’s development at Spruce Peak drove the market, with 12 sales between $1.3 and $4 million. A new Stowe record was set with the sale of Strawberry Hill Farm for $6.7m, a lovely renovated property located just outside the village.
Within Chittenden County, waterfront properties continue to command the most value. Six properties in Chittenden County sold for over $1,500,000 in 2016. Five of those sales were waterfront properties including the record sale of Sledrunner Point in Shelburne, where LandVest both listed and sold the property. Non-waterfront properties also improved; with 8 properties that sold above $1 million, a considerable uptick from an average of 3-5 per year.
Outside of Chittenden and Lamoille Counties, there was a total of 10 sales above $1 million, some setting new records. One was the sale of Muddy Creek Farm in Ferrisburgh in Addison County (just south of Chittenden County). This was the highest ever residential sale for a non-waterfront property in Addison County. Another notable sale was on Lake Morey in Fairlee, Vermont for just over $1.9 million, brokered by LandVest’s Story Jenks and Chris Lang.
YOUNGER BUYERS ARE BACK, a positive sign post-Great Recession. The sluggish recovery of the luxury market since 2008 has appeared to have been due to a demographic and cyclical overhang of downsizing older sellers. It appears that an improving economy is helping to create the wealth and confidence necessary to bring younger buyers into the second home market.
LOOKING FORWARD TO BETTER SUPPLY/DEMAND BALANCE: The inventory of homes on the market, while still elevated, has come down over the last several years. We are hopeful that this trend will continue as more competition among buyers should support prices. The year began with plenty of snow in the mountains and good buyer activity.
A SNEAK PREVIEW OF 2017 NEW LISTINGS includes 3 waterfront properties on Shelburne Point and 2 exceptional waterfront offerings in Charlotte: a 58-acre estate and a rare 18-acre building lot. In Addison County, a wonderful lakeside retreat just down the road from Basin Harbor Club and others will be announced soon. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for the most up-to-date information.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you with any questions or comments or if we can be of assistance.
AVERILL H. COOK