Welcome to the 2019 Third Quarter 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 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.
Median Sales Prices Continue to Rise in 2019. We have officially passed the mid-year point, and have entered the height of the selling season, which typically extends through the fall. Real estate market activity remains consistent and similar in many ways to what we’ve seen over the past couple of years. Strong buyer demand and low inventory continue to be influences on our market resulting in increased sales and prices in many cases.
One notable change from last year at this time is that mortgage rates have become more favorable after recent reductions. A mortgage rate as low as 4% for a 30 year fixed with no points, was available mid-July. This was a 2 year low. As always, depending on an assortment of economic factors, there are bound to be some fluctuations during the upcoming weeks and months, but most reports indicate rates will remain very attractive. Low rates are particularly beneficial to first-time homebuyers who are faced with rising real estate prices.
Median prices for residential homes in our area continue to rise, as they have been nationally as well. The increase of 4% in Stowe was moderate compared to that of past quarters but rose more significantly in the rest of Lamoille County and Waterbury. The number of homes that sold in Stowe and Waterbury for the first six months of this year increased as well, 24% and 14% respectively; yet the number was actually down slightly in the rest of Lamoille County.
By the end of Q2 inventory shortages increased once again in Stowe and the rest of Lamoille County, although the lack of inventory was not as significant as we saw the year prior. There were only 50 homes available to purchase in Stowe by the end of the quarter, yet there was more of a selection in northern Lamoille, with a total of 142 homes to choose from, pushing buyers northward to purchase in some cases.