Welcome to the 2018 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 during 2018 in the Multiple Listing Service and compares them to sales that took place during 2017.
Strong Market Conditions Revealed for 2018. As 2018 came to a close and broader economic markets showed signs of volatility, consistency in the real estate market continued to offer comfort. Some large residential markets across the country have been negatively affected by weakened buyer demand, and as a result, declining prices. Stowe and the surrounding region continue to show signs of overall strength, and in most cases, increased demand. As we’ve seen over the past few years, lack of inventory remains a consistent theme impacting our local markets. Buyers patiently wait as new listings flow into the market, and sellers who are pricing their properties according to demand, are selling more rapidly than seen in recent years. The average days on the market for home sales in Stowe has declined steadily over the last 3 years. The average days on market for 2018 was 113 as compared to 188 in 2016.
Some recent national reports show more people are moving into Vermont than almost all other states. Although interest rates crept up slightly through 2018, they are still historically very low and provide buyers with the rates that are still satisfactory. Overall indicators show that real estate remains a sound investment in our area.
Home sales in Stowe and the rest of Lamoille County were up in 2018, despite a continual decrease of inventory in Stowe. This is likely due to how quickly homes are moving off the market. Not so for Waterbury which is more adversely affected by extremely low inventory. By the end of 2019, there was only a 2 months’ supply of homes on the market in the Waterbury area. This is likely the main factor affecting the number of sales that occurred there.
New Available Listings at a 3 Year Low. After a long, beautiful, and busy summer, we’ve quickly transitioned to autumn. The real estate market remains strong with continued high buyer demand. Low inventory continues to be the predominant theme, and over the last nine months, new listings being entered into MLS hit a 3 year low.
This has caused many buyers to compete with others for a scarcity of housing choices, driving prices up in some cases. The median price for home sales in Stowe, for instance, rose again significantly for the third year in a row, topping out at the end of Q3 at $620,000. This is an increase of 11 % as compared to Q3 2017.
Some wonder how long this trend might continue. Are buyers beginning to reach a threshold for what they might be willing to pay for a home, and continue to compete in some cases with multiple offers? Some media outlets have recently been reporting that housing markets, in places in other parts of the country, are starting to slow down as a result of these factors. Additionally, interest rates have been on the rise, and have recently hit a 7 year high of 5.0%. Although we haven’t seen that negatively impact buyers – it does reduce their buying power.
These factors may influence the sustainability of what has the potential to be the strongest market since 2008.