A New Year – a Fresh Outlook
What a difference a year makes. It was just over a year ago when we weren’t sure what lay ahead, yet due to the strong and resilient nature of our community, we got through the toughest of times. As spring is emerging, and Americans and the world are getting vaccinated, there is a renewed sense of hope and optimism for more normalcy ahead.
This winter, on-snow activities created an abundance of opportunities to be outside recreating together safely; and Stowe Mountain Resort did an exceptional job pulling off a fantastic ski and ride season. Real estate buyers were just as active and reignited their searches to purchase and invest in real property more vigorously than ever. As a result of rising prices, and some of the lowest levels of inventory ever seen, there have been challenges too, but our agents continue to find new and innovative ways to help their clients obtain successful outcomes.
The recurring themes of high buyer demand and lack of inventory continue to drive sales and prices higher in most segments of the market, and locations. The number of home sales in Stowe more than doubled as compared to last year at this time; increased in the rest of Lamoille County; yet actually decreased by more than half in Waterbury as a result of the lowest offering of homes available for sale there. But the number of pending home sales was much higher across the board, in some cases more than tripling; and they went under contract in less time than ever.
Home sales in Stowe reached new highs in numbers and prices revealing a 59%+ increase in median price and a new high average sale price of $1,409,628, which was a 91% price increase. Pending home sales grew over 3 times the amount; and active listings declined, leaving only 11 homes at the end of March, compared to 43 in 2020. Given buyer demand, some might think it surprising to see that the average days on market increased from 43 in Q1 of 2020 to 88 in Q1 of 2021, but this was largely due to ultra luxury properties, which sold for $4M and above, remaining on the market a little bit longer, on average.
Condominiums sales in Stowe rose significantly as well - a 33% increase; although over half of them closed under $500K. Condominiums provided more affordable options to buyers, and resulted in a decrease in the average sales price, scaling down by about 18%. Pending sales climbed significantly compared to last year, ranging up to a list price of $2.5M for an exclusive Club Residence at Spruce Peak.
Interest in luxury homes continued to expand and all activity for those escalated. Over half of all residential home sold in Stowe for Q1 of 2021 had a list price of over $1M, two of which sold for more than $5M. Last year at this time there was only 1 sale over $1M. The average number of days on market lowered further, indicating the sharp demand, even at an average sale price of $1.920M. The number of pending sales over $1M increased for Q1, although represented only 14% of all residential sales under contract by the end of the quarter.
Many buyers shifted their focus to land which provided more opportunities. As a result, sales increased 10-fold in Stowe. More modest gains were seen in the rest of Lamoille County, and in Waterbury. Some developers began to step up and purchase larger parcels with subdividing in mind, which hopefully will bring new listings to market for buyers to take advantage of. This has also helped to keep local builders busy, adding jobs to the economy. Pending land sales were up as well. This has all had an impact on the overall decline in inventory.
North of Stowe, in the rest of Lamoille County, buyers clamored to find and buy homes as well. There tended to be more options, especially more affordable ones, in Lamoille County North with an average selling price of $359K. Home sales in this region increased by double digits. New listings kept declining, yet the average days on market over the course of the 1st quarter increased indicating that older listings were finally making their way to closing. As we’ve seen in the past couple of years, Morrisville and Cambridge continue to be the most popular towns for buying outside of Stowe; with Hyde Park and Wolcott having similar sales numbers.
Demand for condominiums climbed by almost the same percentage, helped by a slight boost in inventory. All of the sales were located at Smugglers’ Notch Resort with an average price of $165K. The number of days on market was lower, compared to last year during the same time period.
With broadened interest in land, sales in that category rose to almost 3 times as many as sold in 2020, with an average sale price of $107K, and spanning all of Lamoille County North. A number of those properties were 25+ acres, offering subdivision opportunities for family compounds and multi-lot development, which has become increasingly popular. Pending sales mirrored closed sales in most respects where they increased markedly and had similar average list prices. Again, many of them were larger parcels purchased for development possibilities. All of this being perhaps the start of an ongoing trend.
Waterbury remains extremely popular, yet there is less to choose from there, than from surrounding areas. Since it’s a smaller market overall, it’s not unusual for there to only be 1 or 2 transactions each week. Even though the number of new listings increased year over year, buyers were still hampered since there were still only 10 homes to choose from; the lowest level available in our market area. Those that came on the market were absorbed quickly and resulted in the average number of days on market to drop almost 70%. There were only 4 closed sales in the first 3 months of the year, with an average price of $389K. But as the listings came onto the market over that time, they went under contract very quickly. There were 9 pending sales at the end of the quarter, with the majority of them priced between $600K and $1.2M.
Land sales in Waterbury remained consistent with just one additional transfer in 2021. The average sales price was $204K, and the properties were on the market for over a year and a half, on average. There were twice as many land parcels that had gone under contract compared to the year before. The end result of all the land activity in Q1 left only 6 lots left for sale going into Q1, vs a total of 26 listings in 2020.
As we progress through the selling season, consumers will more than likely have the opportunity to see more inventory coming onto the market which is typical for this time of year. With that, and historically low-interest rates still in place, it is still a good time to buy. We are here to answer any questions, consult or advise, for whatever your real estate needs may be.