The Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors (NVBR) has released their December 2019 market statistics which also shows how the real estate market performed overall in 2019. The report confirms the continuing trend of increasing home prices (average sales price YTD up 7.3%) and decreasing inventory. What does this mean for the market? It means that the sellers market we have seen over the last few years will continue into this year. Let’s look at some more numbers to see what the market is doing.

We saw an increase in both new listings (up 15.6% for single-families and 3.6% for townhouse-condo) and pendings (up 36.6% for single-family and 17.2% for condos). At the same time we saw an overall decrease in inventory (down 16.1% for single-family and 25.9% for condos). This indicates new listings added to the market were snatched up quickly by the many buyers out looking. We also saw days on market decrease (15% for single-family and 55.3% for condos) and months supply of inventory decrease (26.8% for single-family and 28.6% for condos). Fewer days on the market and fewer months of inventory further confirms that homes are going under contract faster and demand is outweighing supply. 

The strong sellers market exists thanks to market conditions that make it favorable to buy a home right now. NVBR summarizes the situation: “With low mortgage rates, low unemployment, and continued wage growth, home buyer activity is expected to remain healthy into the new year. New construction has been on the rise in 2019 and is expected to continue into 2020, but many experts note that the country is still not building enough new units to quench demand. It remains to be seen whether existing homeowners will be enticed to sell by higher home prices, which could finally bring the overall housing market into greater balance.”

While winter is traditionally a slower time for the real estate market due to the colder weather, holidays, and people taking vacations to warmer climates, we have already seen an increase in activity this year. We have more buyers out looking than this time last year, while not seeing a large increase in the number of new listings. This is further compounding the sellers market and setting us up for a competitive spring buying season. It looks like we will see many multiple offer situations again this year (we have already seen a few so far), so it is imperative for buyers to prepare themselves to act fast. This means figuring out what they want quickly and getting pre-approved before they look at homes. This allows them to know the right home when they see it and be able to put an offer in quickly. Putting in an offer the same day as seeing a home instead of “sleeping on it” or waiting to get pre-approved could mean the difference between getting the home of their dreams or losing out completely.

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