• Rutland real estate market picks up
    By
     | February 25,2013
     
    Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo

    Debbie Catherman, right, goes through her Proctor home with Re/Max Realtor Bonnie Chandler.

    Single-family home sales in Rutland County posted an 11 percent increase last year with the median sale price up more than 10 percent, according to the Northern New England Real Estate Network, a multiple listing service in Vermont.

    Statewide, home sales were up 15 percent while the median price was $205,500, a decline of 1.7 percent from 2011.

    In Rutland County, 453 homes were sold last year compared to 407 homes the year before. The median sale price was $159,900 compared to $153,900 in 2011.

    Homes in the county were on the market longer last year, 191 days compared to 183 days in 2011.

    Bonnie Chandler of Re/Max Winning Advantage said 2013 should be a year of moderate to slow growth with prices likely to increase slightly over last year.

    “Looking out to the five-year picture, things are going to get better each year as long as the overall economy continues on a positive trend,” Chandler said.

    She said the bump up in sales last year reflected more confidence in the economy and low interest rates. Chandler also said she has the sense that consumers are adjusting to the financial logjam in Washington.

    “My personal opinion is people are really starting to function within the new fiscal reality,” she said.

    Statewide, the Northern New England Real Estate Network reported 1,070 condominiums sales last year, up 17 percent from 2011. The median sale price was $180,000 compared to $185,000 the prior year.

    In Rutland County, condo sales totaled 84, the same as the prior year. The median sale price was $145,000 compared to $131,500 in 2011, an increase of more than 10 percent. From the perspective of Rutland appraiser Sean Sargeant, the local housing market continues to recover with monthly sales gains over the last 18 months. He said prices for many properties have stopped falling.

    “Certainly, prices in the under $200,000 range have stabilized,” Sargeant said. “I’m starting to see prices above $200,000 starting to stabilize as well.”

    He said if demand continues to pick up homeowners should see the value of their homes appreciate over the next couple of years.

    Sargeant said homes priced above $500,000 are the exception because there are few buyers.

    He said there are 90 listings in the Rutland area (excluding Killington) for homes in the $500,000 and above market and only two sales a month translating into “almost four years of inventory.”

    He said while buyers in that upper end price range don’t lack the financial wherewithal, it also means they can afford to build a home to their liking rather than buy an existing home.

    In Killington, Sargeant said business in the resort community has picked up as well over the last two years with the average sale price trending up over the last 18 months.

    “What’s amazing about Killington is that almost 80 percent of the deals in Killington right now are all cash,” he said.

    Heidi Momengen of Prestige Real Estate said there’s no question the Killington market has picked up.

    Momengen said the an improved economy and pent up demand have contributed to the rebound.

    “I think it’s a combination of that and the fact people had been waiting and feeling like prices would continue to drop,” she said, “and I think there’s more of a sense or a perception that it’s hit bottom.”

    Sales of condominiums, with the exception of some higher priced units, remain sluggish, she said.

    Momengen said there are about 100 condos on the market, which has stayed fairly consistent over the last year.

    She said financing remains tight for both condos and second homes.

    “We have to tell everyone that if they are going to go for financing they have to put a minimum of 25 percent down and that applies to both houses and condos,” she said.

    bruce.edwards@rutlandherald.com

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