As we closed out yet another extremely strong year in real estate, it’s important to reflect on how dramatic the last two years have been for our community, state, and world. 2021 brought new breakthroughs and challenges as we all learned to live with COVID and the obstacles it presents. One factor remained true, people yearned for the comforts of home, whether that was the first-time home buyer beginning their journey of homeownership, a second homeowner looking for an escape or the seasoned investor, all were in search of creating a sense of stability and normalcy. Across the spectrum, our area continues to see a strong market for sellers and intense competition for buyers. We continue to see multiple offers and in many cases prices being driven by the emotion of having lost out, thus further driving bidding to historic levels. Although there’s talk of rising interest rates, currently they remain very favorable for purchasers and allow for strong buying power for qualified buyers.
COVID remains top of mind and continues to drive purchasers' desire for certain qualities within a property. As we move from work from home to new hybrid models people seek out similar features they were looking for in 2020, larger homes, home offices, high-speed internet, close proximity to outdoor activities. The latter is something our area has in abundance. We are inherently seeing that shift in focus and priority that we expect to last well into 2022, and beyond.
Inventory cannot be replenished quickly enough across all of our markets. It’s no longer just centered in Stowe but is affecting the entire state of Vermont. Buyers have come to grips with the lack of inventory and demonstrated a new level of patience as we progressed through 2021 and into 2022. That being said their appetite for new options is palpable, and when new opportunities become available they are ready to pounce. Our real estate professionals take the time to make sure buyers are fully educated so when new options become available they are focused on presenting the best possible offer to secure the new property.
2021 further solidified the overall shift upwards of values within our area. For many who own here or have been visiting Vermont over time, this is long overdue given our proximity to major eastern cities. It’s important to note that this shift affects communities differently, some will no longer be considered affordable, while others are seeing a renewed interest that is providing a much needed influx of new owners. Wherever your community falls in this new paradigm it’s important to reflect and remember that Vermont remains strong.
While Stowe did not see as many homes sell in 2021 compared to 2020, the difference, 13, was very minimal and still a record compared to prior years where the average was 85. Of further significance was the continued upward trend of average and median pricing. The average price of a home in Stowe for 2021 was $1.138M compared to $989K in 2020 and the median price moved to $890K in 2021 up from $805K in 2020.
The main drivers of these increases were lack of inventory, a 50% reduction in new listings, and selling prices being 2.21% over the listing price in Q4 2021 compared to a year ago. Homes traded at a much faster pace in 2021 with average days on market dropping by from 100 days in 2020 to just 47 days in 2021.
There were 8 homes available at the end of 2021, compared to 21 available homes at the end of 2020. There were 9 homes in contract at the end of 2021, 2 were priced below $750K and the remainder were priced from $1.3M to $5.9M.
As reflected in the increases in average and median selling prices, the luxury market in Stowe continued to build off a strong 2020. There were a total of 43 sales above $1M in 2021 compared to 38 in 2020. As noted in the Q3 2021 report there was an outlier sale of $33M that was likely an internal family transfer. The numbers presented exclude that sale. The luxury market represents almost 40% of the overall market in Stowe. Compared to other luxury mountain towns in the US, Stowe has finally started to get the recognition as a luxury destination that many have felt it deserves.
There was growth in the condominium market as well in 2021 compared to 2020 with 103 units trading in 2021, compared to 97 in 2020. What was most significant within the condo market was the jump in average and median prices year over year. The average price went from $554K in 2020 to $739K in 2021 and the median moved from $449K to $540K, respectively. While much of this increase was due to several new development projects, what was most interesting was the gains seen in well-established, existing developments. Condos like Stonybrook, Topnotch, and Tollhouse all saw record sales prices. This is a testament to the attractiveness of what these associations offer in terms of size, location, and amenities. In addition to these increases, we saw in Q4 2021 that condos sold at almost 5.5% above their listing price, reflecting the intense competition from buyers for this type of property.
The condo market has also segmented, offering a luxury market similar to single-family homes. 2021 saw more luxury sales with 16 condos selling over $1M compared to 6 sold in 2020. This further demonstrates that luxury buyers want additional amenities and less responsibility around upkeep than in previous years.
The old saying rings true; They aren’t making any more land! This has become more evident in Stowe as the number of available parcels has gone down over the last two years. 2021 saw a decrease in total parcels sold, 29 compared to 39 in 2020. (These numbers exclude a parcel that traded under the same terms as the $33M home sale.) What adds weight to this sentiment was the almost doubling of average and median sales prices year over year. The average jumped from $309K in 2020 to $588K in 2021 and the median moved from $200K to $425K, respectively. Another significant trend with land was that buyers were willing to spend more per acre for well-located parcels, sometimes forgoing historically important items like view and greater acreage.
Stowe Commerical Sales
New to this year’s report is a commercial and multi-family perspective. Over the last three years, there has been a renewed interest in commercial real estate in Stowe. There were 12 total commercial sales in 2021 compared to 3 in 2020. Last year, 2020, was not indicative of a normal market so we can compare 2021 to 2019 to get a better sense of the overall trend in Stowe. In 2019 there were 13 total commercial sales, which is just one more than 2021. COVID has driven more traffic to our area which as a result has brought new hoteliers, developers, and investors looking for attractive commercial options. Over the last three years, Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate has represented 60% of the 28 sales. Our team is well versed in commercial real estate and is available to help analyze and identify unique opportunities within the Stowe area.
Lamoille North, which excludes Stowe, saw significant growth in 2021 compared to 2020, a trend that mirrors the state. What was most significant about this growth was the expansion of sales within the luxury arena. There were 14 sales above $900K in 2021 compared to 3 the prior year. This is a direct reflection of the lack of inventory in the Stowe market. These sales along with an increase in sales between $500K and $1M drove the average and median pricing to new heights in 2021. The average price rose from $229K in 2020 to $414K in 2021 and the median price increased from $260K in 2020 to $347K in 2021. While the luxury market was driven by second-home buyers the majority of this market was driven by primary home buyers. After 2020 many of these buyers were well prepared and moved quickly. This often resulted in multiple bid situations in markets where that was historically uncommon. This demand drove the days on market for homes down from an average of 106 in 2020 to 66 in 2021. Inventory remained an issue in 2021 and a potential rise in interest rates could reduce some buying power for buyers. There were 32 homes for sale at the end of 2021 in Lamoille North, which excludes Stowe, and the same amount were in contract.
There was a 60% increase in land sales in 2021 compared to 2020 in Lamoille North, similar growth to the year before. There were a total of 128 sales in 2021 compared to 78 in 2020. This growth helped to move the average and median pricing upwards as well, although less dramatically than home sales. The average price rose to $121K compared to $108K in 2020, and the median rose to $79K in 2021 from $65K in 2021. Land offers a diverse segment of parcels to choose from, along with good proximity to economic and cultural centers, which should keep driving interest from buyers who are looking to build. At the end of 2021, there were 60 parcels of land available ranging from $45K to a $2.75M commercial parcel.
*Figures reflected in the report linked above reflect all of Lamoille County including Stowe. The above narrative excludes the Stowe data.
Waterbury overall saw a decrease in the number of total sales for 2021, 54 compared to 65 in 2020. Although there was a decrease it mirrored that of other markets with higher price points driving all key indexes. The luxury market in Waterbury outperformed the 2020 numbers, with 7 sales above $900K compared to none in 2020. These sales helped the market on a whole gain ground in average and median sales prices. The average sales price moved from $458K in 2020 to $600K in 2021, and the median price increased from $438K in 2020 to $517K in 2021. While the total number of sales decreased the average days on market was cut by more than 50%, down from 137 days to 62 days. Waterbury remains attractive to several different segments of buyers, from commuters to second homeowners. The vibrant downtown coupled with easy commuting to the surrounding area makes for a perfect combination.
Waterbury, like Stowe, is running short on remaining land parcels to purchase. The past two years have seen strong sales for this market. There were 18 parcels sold in 2021 compared to 21 in 2020, just a slight drop-off. In addition to this, the overall trend in sales somewhat mirrored the home sales, there was an increase in average and median sales. Coupled with a decrease in average days on market. The average sales trended upwards from $165K to $202K, the median moved from $148K to $177K. While the average days on market went from 423 to 295, a significant move downwards.
As we enter into 2022 our outlook for our area is very positive. We see continued interest in all aspects of our markets, there are new development projects coming on the market to provide more inventory, builders are more than busy creating newly inspired homes, investment from commercial entities that will enhance our stature among regional mountain towns, and within the state of Vermont. Our team stands at the ready to answer any questions, consult or advise, in all of your real estate ventures.
- 2021 Q3 Stowe Area Real Estate Market Report, Download Here
- 2020 Year-End Stowe Area Real Estate Market Report, Download Here
- 2019 Year-End Stowe Area Real Estate Market Report, Download Here
- 2018 Year-End Stowe Area Real Estate Market Report, Download Here