Featured, Local News

Killington zip code offers a buyer’s market

By Karen D. Lorentz

It’s been a busy year for the Killington real estate market, and while prices are moving up slightly for some properties, they still represent good values, real estate agents report.

They note that Killington has “the best prices for a major resort area” and there is good inventory available although some shortages are being seen.

Twenty single-family homes have sold in Killington as of Sept. 22, with an average sale price of $338,765. For the same time frame in 2016, 11 homes had sold, reported Ted Crawford, co-owner of Prestige Real Estate. He noted several higher priced home sales this year, over 2016.

“To date 49 condos have sold in Killington with an average sale price of $149,535. Some complexes continue to have low inventory with no units for sale at Fall Line, Glazebrook, Hemlock Ridge, Colony Club, or Pico Slopeside and only one at Pinnacle and Winterberry. Currently, there are approximately 67 condos for sale, not counting fractional ownerships,” Crawford reports.

Kyle Kershner, broker and owner of Killington Pico Realty, reports that three homes sold above $500,000, including one above $1 million (the first in 29 months) versus one home sale above $500,000 in the same time frame in 2016. Additionally, a $1-million home and one over $500,000 are under contract.

Kershner noted, “The number of sales for both condos and single-family homes in Killington are up year-to-date over the same time period in 2016, but paradoxically, the median sales price in both categories is down by nine and ten percent respectively. A possible explanation for this is that listing inventory in both categories has remained high — I’m carrying more listings today than I have at any other point in my 16-year career. … we have a 30-month supply of single-family home inventory on the market today and a 20-month supply of condominium inventory. … It’s a very different dynamic in the second home market, where sellers are rarely under pressure to sell and buyers never have to buy. I like to characterize it as a “wants-based market” compared to a “needs-based market”, which drives the majority of the primary residential real estate markets in the United States,” he added.

Current Killington property pricings

Current prices in Killington range from $23,000 for a quarter-share Grand Hotel studio to $3.25 million for a single-family home.

Condos and townhomes range from $655,000 for a three-bedroom, ski-in/ski-off, 2,700 square foot townhouse to $82,500 for a two-bedroom, 864 square foot townhome close to Killington and Pico.

There are 47 single-family homes for sale, with one newly constructed four-bedroom, five-bath, ski-on/ski-off home listed for $1.395 million home at the Vistas (three more can be built there).

Other (existing) large $1-million plus homes range from $3.25 million for a nine-bedroom, eight-bath, three-story home to $1.295 million for five-bedroom, five-bath home.

In the under $1 million inventory, single-family homes range from $777,000 for a five-bedroom, five-bath home to $130,000 for an off-the-grid three 3-bedroom, two-bath home on 10 acres.

Doug Quatchak of ERA Mountain Real Estate notes that inventory at the slopeside Killington Grand Hotel, which has 133 condo units, is the lowest he’s seen since the 2007-08 national economic downturn.

Currently, there are 17 fractional ownerships available with prices ranging from $23,000 for a sleep-two studio to $79,900 for a three-bedroom, three bath unit. “The fractional ownerships are for 13 weeks each so 17 available out of 532 ownerships mean prices have started to rebound, but they are still lower than what you find nationally or even at other Vermont areas,” he said.

Quatchak attributes the low inventory to the hotel being a “hassle-free product” with fitness center, restaurant, pool, views, rental program, and convenient location adjacent to Snowshed and the new Adventure Center. He noted seeing owners selling smaller units and upgrading to larger units, stating that was the case with his recent sale of a three-bedroom Grand penthouse.

“There is less inventory in condos available in town than a year or two ago,” he said, attributing it to “the convenience of condo ownership and to savvy buyers who had been on the fence deciding it was time to move. They recognize good values, prices, and mortgage rates.”

Buyer’s market good for business

Killington Valley Real Estate broker Bret Williamson states, “It’s still a buyer’s market with good values.” He reports an increase in closings this year and notes seeing higher priced single-family home sales. “This will be a record year for me for sales and dollar volume.”

Williamson also credits savvy purchasers who recognize good values and low interest rates as well as being able to capitalize on renting out a property when not using it. “It’s an attractive time for vacation-home buyers and particularly families with the many things do from summer camps for kids to mountain biking. Summer rentals are coming back,” he said, adding the prestigious ski area and World Cup also contribute to the desirability of purchasing in Killington. He also reports seeing a shortage of three-bedroom condos and one-bedroom winter seasonal rentals.

Tricia Carter, broker and co-owner at Ski Country Real Estate, reports being “out straight” and having “one of my most active springs” and being “even busier in July and August and into September.” Although she reports that prices are still recovering, she said clients have commented that “vacation homes out West cost much more.” She noted a shortage of one- and two-bedroom winter seasonal rentals, saying that the large groups who shared a seasonal rental in the past are not being seen now. There’s a better supply of three-bedroom duplexes, condos, and houses available for seasonal rentals, she added.

Another change she noted is that some sellers are requesting a preapproval letter for buyers. “That’s new,” she said, adding preapproval letters from lenders do save time and are a good idea.

2017 six-month sales comparison to 2016

Crawford said that 2017 total sales volume — Killington zip code only — was the second highest in first-half-year revenue since 2013. Sales revenue was over $10 million for first half 2015 but has averaged around $8 million for the first half of each year since 2013. (In 2015 total market revenue was over $20 million, its highest level since 2006 and 16% higher than the 10-year average.)

“More homes sold at a higher price during the first half of this year than the same period last year. Prices for the 13 single-family homes sold ranged from $174,000 to $805,000 in Killington.

About the same number of condos sold as the first six months of 2016, but prices were 17 percent lower on average, Crawford noted. Of the 33 condos sold, prices ranged from $45,000 to $425,000. Prices depend on the condo complex, location, amenities, and homeowners association fees, he said.

Land and commercial offerings

Of  27 parcels of land for sale, prices range from $399,000 each for lots that are part of a new 28.8-acre Planned Unit Development with seven ski-in/ski-out homesites to $5,000 for a 1.3-acre untested site.

“Because there is ample inventory of reasonably priced property in both the condo and single-family home markets, there continues to be very low demand for land. Most land sales have been larger parcels of timberland or purchases by adjacent property owners for protection of their asset from unwanted development, preservation of privacy, etcetera,” Kyle Kershner explained.

Currently three commercial properties are listed for sale, one of which is an inn business. The Mountain Meadows Lodge on the shores of Kent Lake has six acres, 17 guest rooms, offered at $1.25 million by Hearthside Group.

Ault Commercial Realty, Inc. has an investment opportunity property listed at $1.25 million. The 20-room lodge on a 1.6-acre lot with frontage on Killington Road is leased as student housing with over seven years remaining on the lease.

Domenic’s Pizza is a “turn-key” 50-seat restaurant and bar with outside dining decks and views of Killington trails. Located on Killington Mountain Road, it also has a separate commercial quality workshop with an attached equipment storage room. It’s listed at $649,000 by John Wetmore of William Raveis-Woodstock.

Local lenders recommended

Attorney Melvin B. Neisner, whose general law practice in Killington has seen an uptick in real estate closings this year, agrees with agents that purchasers who aren’t paying cash should make every effort to use a local lender when looking for vacation home financing. Local lenders are more familiar with the Killington market and can handle financing more expeditiously, he noted.

Photo by  Evan Johnson
Housing units overlook Bear Mountain at Killington.

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