Ahead of the Curve

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A Tight Real Estate Market in Chittenden County

Low inventory + many buyers = a tight real estate market in Chittenden County. More on the challenges facing buyers in this report, courtesy of Michelle Gray of the Gray Group Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty.

The residential property market in Chittenden County continues to see strong demand from home buyers, including first-time home purchasers and luxury  buyers on the hunt for lakefront or mountain-view estates.

A stronger economy is prompting employers such as The University of Vermont Medical Center and Allscripts to hire employees within Chittenden County. That’s bringing more out-of-state buyers into the market, and providing local residents with the financial stability to either consider making the jump from renting to home-buying or moving into a new home.

Inventory: The Good and The Bad

Inventory levels remain the chief issue for homebuyers, with the number of new listings declining by 8.3% from a year ago. Finding desirable homes in mid-range prices can be especially tough, although buyers looking for executive-level homes and luxury estates will have more choices. The county has about 7 months of available inventory, down from 9 months a year earlier.

Affordability: A Top Concern

Buyers on the hunt for properties below $400,000, considered the sweet spot in Chittenden County, may struggle because of a lack of choices, especially in sought-after neighborhoods. As a result, our Realtors are finding that attractively priced homes in good condition may receive multiple offers and sell quickly. Depending on a buyer’s price range and desired location, some house-hunters may need to consider homes that need some work, or search for properties in towns and counties with more affordable prices.


  • Across the city, new listings have declined by one-quarter from a year ago.
  • The market in Burlington has more than 6 months inventory on hand, little changed from a year earlier.
    05401, or Burlington’s Old North End, Hill District and South End neighborhoods, is the top-searched zip code for Northwest Vermont real estate searches.
  • More buyers are extending their search to the New North End, where houses typically have a lower price point than in the South End or the Hill District. The proximity of the bike path and several beaches are appealing to home buyers.
  • Home buyers are gravitating toward lower-priced homes. The median residential sale price in the third quarter was $254,000, or about 2% lower than a year earlier.
    Sold properties are moving faster than a year earlier. Homes are selling after an average of 53 days on the market compared with 62 days a year ago.

South Burlington

  • South Burlington appeals to buyers who like the proximity to Burlington and the range of price points. The town has a diverse condominium market, as well as a range of single-family housing options.
  • Pricing in South Burlington rose 2% during the first 9 months of the year, while sales are little changed from a year earlier.
  • South Village, a community planned around walking trails and a farm, is popular with buyers moving from out-of-state and professionals who are seeking newly constructed homes.


  • Nicknamed “The Brooklyn of Burlington,” Winooski’s revitalization, bringing new restaurants, condominium developments, and stores, is attracting professionals to this former mill town.
  • Inventory has eased slightly, but still remains tight. There are now about 6 months of inventory on hand, compared with about 5 months a year earlier.
  • Homes are selling after an average of 20 days on the market, the fastest rate in at least three years.
  • The median sale price has gained slightly, rising 1% during the first nine months of 2016.


  • Thanks to stronger hiring by Chittenden County employers, buyers are returning to Shelburne. Sales in the town jumped 62% in the first three quarters, while the median sale price also gained.
  • Available inventory has declined to 6 months, compared with a year’s worth of inventory at the same time last year.
  • Homebuyers are returning to the higher-end properties, helping to boost sales of houses in the $500,000 to $900,000 range, our Realtors note.

Multi-family market

  • Demand for multi-family homes remains strong, although inventory has tightened.
  • There are about 10 months of available inventory in Burlington, the most active market for multi-family homes, compared with 15 months a year ago.
  • Within Chittenden County, the median sale price jumped 22%, while the number of sales was little changed from a year earlier.
  • For a longer discussion of trends, please see our multi-family section in the Fall Market Report.

Land Sales

  • Some professionals are opting to buy land and construct custom-built homes. Demand for land increased, with sales jumping 8% in the first nine months of the year. Still, buyers opted for lower-priced lots, with the median sale price declining 9% to $119,500.



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