The COVID Land Rush

Vermont As Case Study


The “Tale of Two Markets” after the Great Recession, when the entire story was about urban millennials and downsizing boomers fighting over concierge apartments, totally reversed with COVID. 

Suddenly the news was of Brooklynites roaming the covered bridges and converging in masked hordes on the Woodstock Farmer’s Market. In truth, while the shift began a year or two earlier, the COVID environment accelerated the move from urban areas to the countryside and suburbs. 

Almost no area benefited as much as Vermont.   

Vermont 2020 Land Sales - COVID Land Rush

Luxury Vermont sales nearly tripled in 2020.  For the first time in two decades, it is solidly a seller’s market.

Single-Family Unit Sales
Single Family Unit Sales
Single-Family Unit Sales

Major themes influencing the market

  1. COVID dramatically accelerated the demand for “co-primary” homes in the country.
  2. Vermont benefited from the search for more sustainable, climate-resilient living environments, that balance work and play.
  3. Frustrated by the lack of good inventory, buyers are looking for land to build on, despite skyrocketing building costs.

Most buyers are looking for places to live and work, not just vacation.  Turn-key condition and fast internet were the deciding factors in many sales.  Schools were also of interest to many.

LandVest’s broad outreach has brought buyers seeking climate-resilient living from California, Texas, and abroad. 

Sales would have been even higher had there not been a dearth of good inventory. For decades, Vermont luxury properties came on the market with ambitious pricing, and nearly two-thirds of them didn’t sell. They would then go off the market or go back on at progressively lower prices.  In 2020, the trend reversed, and two-thirds of listings sold.  This meant that sellers got a lot closer to their desired price for the first time in twenty years.

Vermont Real Estate Sales $1 Million +
Vermont Real Estate Sales $1 Million +
Land is Now in Demand

Interest in land is accelerating in a big way, prompted by a lack of residential inventory and the desire for space. This, despite a massive increase in building costs. For one metric, lumber constitutes about 14% of building costs, and lumber costs have roughly doubled.  As anyone who has tried to get a repair done knows, the cost of labor is also way up, if you can find anyone to do the work. The hidden gems are the houses that need a lot of work or with dated designs but are on excellent sites.

Vermont 2020 Land Sales - COVID Land Rush

The Top 6 Sales in 2020
  • $6,100,000, Gilcrest Road in Stowe, buyer brought by Meg Kauffman, now with LandVest
  • $6,000,000 310 Marcia Lane in Dorset
  • $5,000,000 Stonehill Farm in Quechee, Four Seasons Sotheby’s
  • $5,125,000 Birch Tree Farm in South Woodstock, LandVest
  • $5,000,000 private sale in Woodstock, LandVest
  • $4,950,000 Harbor Road in Shelburne, LandVest
Public and private listings closed by firm Source: Vermont Real Estate Sales, MLS
Additions to the LandVest Vermont Team and Some Big Successes
  • In 2020, LandVest had four agents in the top ten in Vermont for sales over $1 million.  No other firm had more than one.  Story Jenks ranked #2.
  • Over the last twenty years, LandVest has represented half of the major public and private sales in the state.
  • LandVest has opened an office in Stowe, headed by Meg Kauffman, who brought the buyer for the top Vermont sale in 2020 in Stowe.
New Real Estate Offices in Stowe, Vermont
New Offices in Stowe, Vermont

This strong market is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for landowners.  Please let us know if we can help you make informed decisions about your property. We’d be happy to advise on improvements, land planning, conservation options, or to offer a consultation to help you see how your property fits in the current market.


Dia Jenks
Luxury Real Estate Agent

Story Jenks
Regional Managing Broker