By Karen D. Lorentz
Following the national real estate peak in 2006 and the 2007-2008 economic downturn, properties at most mountain resorts saw a precipitous drop in sales prices and activity levels.
However, activity has been picking up nationwide and prices are moving up slowly, reports Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association. “They’re not to where they were before with some exceptions,” he said, noting that as inventory is reduced, prices climb.
One major change is that buyers are mostly user-owners — investors or “flippers” rare now. Buyers are making lifestyle choices; they can be primary homeowners who are telecommuters, or retirees, or second-home owners.
Among sellers, reasons vary but not all are leaving an area — some downsize while others with growing children and grandkids upsize, echoing today’s intergenerational trend among ski families, Berry said. Similar observations were also made by several Killington brokers.
“Financing is more stringent now, but low-interest rates contribute to a more stable market and to a greater number of user-owners,” noted Judy Storch, principal broker at Killington Valley Real Estate, a firm she founded Oct. 15, 1972. “The market changed fundamentally and people’s thinking seems to have changed — they’re more cautious and thoughtful which is good as vacation properties are delivering good value.”
Phil Dodd, editor of the Vermont Property Owners Report, said sales are up in Vermont’s ski towns but prices vary.
Statewide, single-family home prices are down from 2008 but sales volume is up. Days-on-the-market peaked in 2012 and has since dropped, but it still takes longer to sell than some expect.
But there are exceptions, Dodd noted, saying one broker sold two houses within ten days of listing in Killington recently.
Killington condo inventory dropped to 85 listings, and Ludlow (Okemo) saw condo sales double year-to-date (from 20 to 40), Dodd said in an August interview, noting, “Some real bargains are being snapped up.”
Ted Crawford, principal and founder with Heidi Bomengen, of Prestige Real Estate of Killington, has tracked local sales for many years now. The number of sales that have taken place in Killington year-to-date is up more than 10 percent compared to last year at this time and is at the highest level since 2006, he noted.
As of Sept. 26, Crawford reported 64 properties had sold to-date as compared to 61 in 2013 and 63 the year before (over the same time period).
“Inventory has remained pretty steady over the last several years with condo listings under 100 units, home listings around 60, and land around 30 parcels. Currently there are 55 homes listed, 95 condominiums listed and 29 parcels of land listed. In 2008 (at the end of September) there were 65 homes listed, 145 condos listed and 16 parcels of land,” Crawford reported.
Crawford also noted a number of factors that come into play when discussing prices with averages and median prices changing due to what sells in any given year.
“Values have not begun to increase. While the average sales price of condominiums was up 23 percent this year compared with last year, it was due largely to the fact that 8 condominiums sold for less than $40,000 last year and none have sold for that amount or less this year,” he said.
“Home prices have dropped dramatically this year due to the low number of sales over $500,000. Last year during the first 9 months of the year seven homes sold for between $500,000 and $1,500,000. This year only one home has sold for over $500,000.
“So, yes, there are some good values available in Killington, but fewer as we approach the ski season. As owners are able to generate rental income or use their properties themselves, motivation to sell certainly decreases,” Crawford continued.
“For those shopping to purchase a Killington property in the next 30 days or so, either be a cash buyer or be pre-qualified by a mortgage company and be prepared to close quickly… I am busy — hopefully we will stay busy this fall,” he added.
To learn more about sales in Killington, visit prestigekillington.com which has quarterly newsletters going back to the firm’s founding in 2005.