‘Affordability advantage’ helps produce best market in over a decade, offers great economic indicator for the region
RUTLAND—With strong sales across the region in all price ranges and rapid sales of affordably priced homes, Rutland County’s real estate market is poised for a strong 2020 after its best year in more than a decade in 2019, regional marketing and real estate officials report.
“The market is stronger than it has been since 2006,” said Sean Sargeant, principal of Sargeant Appraisal Service. “From entry-level homes to luxury investment properties, 2019 was filled with good news for Rutland County buyers and sellers alike.
“For sellers, homes that were priced appropriately sold quickly, and the median price rose meaningfully,” Sargeant said. “For buyers, despite a median-price increase, home prices continue to be extremely affordable compared to much of the Northeast and the rest of Vermont.”
Steve Costello, a Green Mountain Power vice president and co-chair of the Regional Marketing Committee, said home prices come up repeatedly when speaking with prospective newcomers to the area.
“The median county income continues to be more than sufficient to purchase a median-priced home,” he said. “That remains a big advantage as work continues to attract new residents. Homes priced under $200,000 sold at a rapid pace in 2019, with inventory turning over nearly two and a half times.”
Mary Cohen, executive director of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, said newcomers have been buying property across the region. That, along with sales as locals upgrade, or downsize heading into retirement, has slashed available inventory – a positive sign in the market, which has been improving for several years. “We are seeing a strong market across the board,” Cohen said. “It’s got something for everyone!”
Sergeant said buyers in Rutland County will continue to see an affordability advantage for the foreseeable future. “Rutland County continues to provide the best median-price-to-income ratio in Vermont,” he said. “That should continue to help drive sales.”
Sargeant said affordability metrics by county are determined through analysis of the median home price, property taxes, ownership costs, and median income. The affordability ratio shows the percentage of the median county income required to afford the median-priced home in Rutland County remains around 85%, far lower than the rest of the state.
That was one of several factors that prompted Brian and Calista Budrow, who bought a three-unit property and moved to Rutland from Arizona last year, to recently put a contract on a single-family home as well.
“We’re thrilled by the sense of community, the schools, and the outdoor recreation opportunities here,” Brian Budrow said. “We love the area, and want to grow our roots even deeper, and the affordability of homes is allowing us to do that.”
The Rutland County residential housing market ended 2019 soundly, Sargeant said.
Nearly 700 homes sold, 442 of them for $200,000 or less.
The median sales price climbed 19% over the past four years, yet is still affordable for people earning near the median income.
Available inventory is at its lowest level in 12 years. There are only eight months of active supply across all price ranges, and barely five months of inventory for homes priced at less than $200,000.
The average time on the market prior to a sale dipped below 90 days twice in 2019, even when including all price ranges.
The second-home market around Killington is strong, with only five months of active inventory and median Killington prices increasing 27% in the past year.
Sargeant said 2020 should be another excellent year.
“The 2020 selling season is poised to start earlier than typical,” he said. “There will be competition for the most desirable homes within each price range.”