Q1 2012 Smith Macdonald Market Snapshot | Analysis of the Stowe VT Area Real Estate Market

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Welcome to the Smith Macdonald Report, our 1st Quarter examination of the Stowe, Lamoille County and Waterbury’s residential and land real estate market.  This report uses market-wide data based on transactions that closed in the first three months of 2012 and compares them to closings that took place during the first three months of 2011.  Closings usually occur four-to-eight weeks after a contract is signed for that reason, the sales activity charted here reflects transactions that closed during and through the end of the 1st Quarter, and does not include contracts signed that have not closed.

Winter 2012 was lacking snow and that did have an impact on the number of buyers searching for homes while here for vacation.  Although the snow was off compared to 2011, there was a 7% increase in total units sold in 1st Quarter 2012 compared to Q1 2011.  Inventory continued to dip to 100 residential listings for a 12% decline in Q1 2012 compared to a year ago.  Although, there were three sales above $1 million during the 1st Quarter, that majority of sales happened below $500K, which resulted in a decline of 32% in the median selling price from $555K to $377K.  Although sellers have been reducing their asking prices, buyers continue to test the market by placing lower offers.  Smart sellers and buyers are able to find common ground, but usually after both have stated their initial positions.

Lamoille County residential sales turned a corner in Q1 2012, increasing 10% in sales volume compared to Q1 2011.  Although there was an increase in units sold the median and average prices were down 5% and 1% respectively compared to 2011.  Waterbury residential sales volume had a significant drop off in Q1 2012 down 60% compared to this time a year ago.  It is important to note the Waterbury market is very small and the reduction was a result of 2 sales compared to 5 last year during Q1.  This reduction resulted in declines in both, median and average prices, 12% and 25% respectively compared to Q1 2011.

One constant theme in the current market is the difficulty transactions have from start to finish, whether it is marketing, price, inspection or financing.  We have found that without the right team working hand in hand with you it can be extremely difficult to sell or purchase a home.  Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate continues to be the area expert representing 38% of sellers and buyers.  Of that 38%, Smith Macdonald Group represented 49%; we are ready to provide you with unmatched expertise and advice.

Request a copy of the Q1 2012 Report today.

Kitchen, Why It’s Important | Realty Times – Kitchens Sell a House

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Why is the kitchen so important in a house?  For one isn’t it the central hub of your home, where families gather to cook and prepare meals.  Where you meet in the morning for that first cup of coffee.  It’s also where everyone ends up hanging out at the party!

Kitchens can make or break a home in terms of it’s appeal and selling possibility.  A nice kitchen in a home that’s seen some wear and tear can help buyers get past the work that needs to be done elsewhere.  Don’t think that you have to have the highest end kitchen to attract buyers, sometimes if your kitchen is well laid out and updated all you need to do is clean it up to make it more appealing.  Of course if your kitchen is from the 80’s or earlier than you want to consider doing some upgrades, appliances at a bare minimum.

Read more about what is possible with kitchens.

Realty Times – Kitchens Sell a House.

I Want a Deal!

Monday, March 10th, 2008

The phone rings at least once a week with a customer who’s first words, after introducing themselves, are ” I want a deal.” My first thought, which I do not say, is; ” Then go to Florida or Las Vegas.” Vermont has been fortunate to be insulated from the housing “bust” as reported in the Burlington Free Press dated March 1, 2008 by Mark Sutkosky:

“Vermont is insulated from much of the housing crunch drama afflicting other parts of the nation, Allen said. Unlike some areas, especially places like Florida and California, Vermont does not have much of an oversupply of houses and condominiums for sale, Allen said. A large oversupply tends to drive prices down sharply.Also, speculators built a lot of housing in some corners of the nation, anticipating huge profits that failed to materialize, Allen said. Vermont experienced little speculative building, he noted.For those who can afford it, Allen said 2008 might be a decent time to buy. “Prices are high relative to historic standards, but there may be pockets of opportunity because the market is slow. They might find sellers more willing to make some concessions,” Allen said. Torpy of the Champlain Housing Trust said programs to encourage affordable housing should remain intact and fully funded.

But even with the high price of houses and condominiums, people with moderate incomes who are have done their research and are sure their finances are stable can buy a home, Torpy said. “If you go in the market and are an informed and wise consumer, you can find a good value,” Torpy said.

Most resort areas in Vermont have experienced a slowing of sales but the prices and the equity that people have in their houses remains stable. Properties over a million have been less affected because this buyer usually pays cash , or finances less than 50%. The slowest real estate sales areas are between $500,000 and $1,000,000. I beleive this is because that buyer would have used the equity from their primary home for a downpayment on their vacation home. Now they are reluctant to do so.