Welcome to the 2019 Year-End Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate Market Report; our current examination of the real estate market in the Stowe area. This report uses market-wide data based on transactions that closed in 2019 in the Multiple Listing Service as compared to sales that took place in 2018.
Low Inventory Continues to Drive Local Markets. As 2019 came to a close, so did a decade. As we have witnessed consistent growth in real estate sales in northern Vermont over the past 10 years, we specifically take a closer look at the trends affecting the market overall, over the past year. Our market area continues to be one of considerable desirability and demand for many reasons, most of which have to do the beneficial lifestyle offered here. Whether people are looking to buy their first home or to make an investment in a vacation or rental property, there are many good reasons to invest in our region. Regardless of price range, interest rates have consistently remained low, continuing to offer consumers the ease and ability to obtain a mortgage for their new property, at very favorable rates.
Low inventory remained a challenge for buyers; and as a result, sellers retained the enviable position of having their properties meet with a high level of interest and demand. It was not uncommon for sellers to benefit from multiple offers in some cases, last year and the year before. Not all price ranges were in demand though, as luxury home sales were again the exception, rather than the rule. Sales in this category in Stowe, for instance, represented only 16% of all sales in 2019, yet, the current luxury home inventory available at year-end was almost half of the total available properties, with the highest-priced property listing at $12M.
In other price ranges, home sales have been on the rise for the most part since 2009, although by the end of the year they had actually decreased just slightly in Stowe and Lamoille County North. This likely had to do with the persistent trend of lack of inventory for buyers to choose from, the percentages of which were all lower.
Low Inventory Impacted Sales, Pending Sales Up. Although sales activity generally continues to be strong for our market area, low inventory remains a challenging factor for willing buyers, and as a result, influencing the number of residential sales over the last 9 months of this year. There was a slight increase in home sales in Stowe, but the number decreased fairly significantly over the northern parts of Lamoille County, and in Waterbury. As single-family home inventory continued to shrink, the number of condominium and land listings in Stowe increased.
Consumer demand remains strong, and buyers continue to invest in properties for both personal use, and investment opportunities. It was recently reported in the media that there are approximately 500 short-term rental properties in Stowe. This represents the largest amount per capita, in all of Vermont. The town of Morristown reported a 28% increase in short-term rental housing so far this year.
Interest rates for home loans improved and are still historically low providing beneficial buying power. An average rate for a 30 year fixed, with 0 points has been around 3.875%. Last year at this time, they were hovering around 5%.
Average and median sale prices for homes and condominiums in Stowe dropped slightly. The rest of Lamoille County saw a slight increase in median price for residential sales; and Waterbury had the biggest increase.