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Vermont Homes Selling Faster Than Last Year, But It's Still A Buyer's Market

Vermont homes are selling more quickly this season than they were last year, but the average sale price has declined.

“For sale” signs - like tulips - pop up in many yards at this time of year. If you’re thinking of selling your house, the good news is homes in Vermont are selling faster this year than last year. 

The bad news is the average sale price has dropped a bit. 

Isaac Chavez, CEO of Vermont Realtors, points to 2013 as the year the state’s housing market finally returned to some sense of normalcy after the crash of 2008.  

He says it’s too early to tell how 2014 will shape up with regard to home sales, but according to state data, the average price of a single family home in Vermont dropped this year by 2 percent.

“Average home price is declining. It’s not declining too much,” said Chavez. “Last year we got back to the top and now we’re stabilizing a little bit.” 

Chavez says uncertainty at the national level with federal loan programs like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae isn’t helping. But he says in Vermont, there just aren’t enough people out shopping for homes.

“Even though our unemployment rates are touted as one of the lowest in the country, the jobs that are being created  tend to be lower wage type jobs,” said Chavez. “So that really hinders  people buying homes in Vermont, because property taxes are extremely high in Vermont.”

Cathleen Hoisington is principal broker of Hoisington Realty in Bennington. She says the disproportionate number of homes on the market is tough for sellers, but good for buyers. She says anyone trying to sell has to price their home competitively and make sure maintenance issues are taken care of.

"The greatest frustration right now - and it's shared from Manchester to Bennington - is the number of contracts that fail." - Cathleen Hoisington, real estate broker

“Folks go on the websites and they see a multitude of homes in their price range, and out of those they’ll pick no more than eight, maybe five, that they’re interested in,” said Hoisington.

If you’re not in that first group that gets looked at, you’re out of the game, she says.

“You’ve got to look at the competition, pretend you’re the buyer and say, ‘Now where can I position my house to be one of the first houses shown?’” said Hoisington. “Because you can always turn down an offer if you don’t like it, but if you don’t get offers you’re not in control.”

And Hoisington warns that in the current market, sellers need to be prepared for deals to fall through.

“The greatest frustration right now - and it’s shared from Manchester to Bennington - is the number of contracts that fail,” said Hoisington. “Buyers have so much to look at, that if they aren’t satisfied during building inspection, there’s a certain amount of ‘well if I don’t get this one there’s more to look at.’”

It can be heartbreaking, she says, but for now, it’s a new rule of the game.

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