Vermont is finally showing signs of spring beginning to emerge after a very cold and snowy winter. While thoughts transition from winter activities, to dusting off the bikes and gardening tools, some are still skiing in the back country and on the slopes. Buds will soon begin to blossom, as we expect the real estate market to do as well. We've had an extremely busy winter with sales; and projections indicate continued growth. Vibrancy continues in the village of Stowe as well, with the new restaurant Plate, and what is reported to be a new store keeper at Lackey's.
The 1st quarter of 2014 can be characterized as one showing another marked increase in residential sales especially compared to the 1st quarter of 2013. The number of home sales was up 60%. That is the most significant increase we've seen since 2010, which at that time was around 27%. A continuation of consumer confidence, buyer demand, low interest rates, and decline in inventory, are among the contributing factors. Residential inventory continues to decrease - down 11% - which represents a 10 month supply which is 44% lower than the 1st quarter of last year. The median and average residential sales prices soared 71% and 41%, respectively.
Condominium sales show continued strength as well - up 20% in the 1st quarter. The amount of inventory of this category decreased as well, down 32%, leaving a 17 months' supply. There was little change in the median and average sales prices.
As for the land category, despite the inventory dropping 16%, there was no increase in the number of sales. We believe we may have a bit more interest in land this spring and summer though, since land prices and residential inventory have both dropped.
Below you will see an interesting change in the selling price segments of the market. The shift has been trending more toward home sales in the $500,000 - $1,000,000, rather than under $500,000. The former price category has been increasing since the beginning of last year. At this time last year 73% of the home sales were under $500,000; and 20% were between $500,000 - $1,000,000 . The $1,000,000 - $1,500,000 dropped a little to 4%, from 7% last year at this time; as well as the last quarter of 2013.
Outside of Stowe, the rest of Lamoille County saw an increase in residential sales in the 1st quarter as well - up 38%. This mirrors the increase seen when comparing the last quarter of 2013 to that of the year before. The median sales price increased 8%, and the average 32%. The Inventory dropped even more significantly than Stowe - 27%. The number of Land sales was just 1 less, and the amount of inventory there remained almost unchanged. The majority of the home sales, 53%, were under $200,000.
Further evidence of the Waterbury residential market continuing to be a tight one was highlighted by the consistent amount of low inventory seen there. Residential sales increased a small amount. Although the median price increased 23%, the average slipped 28%. Land sales in Waterbury increased slightly as well; and as seen in all other categories, inventory dropped there too - 21%. A decrease in inventory is a trend we are watching which could eventually lead to an uptick in pricing, as has been seen in other parts of the country. Our market, in general, usually trends behind other markets, particularly areas with larger populations and demographics.
In other news, I am proud to share, that our office was recently awarded the #1 Coldwell Banker office in sales, of its size, in the northern region comprised of 19 states. Additionally, we were awarded the #4 ranking, nationally. Budge Huskey, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker said of our office: "Like Stowe itself, Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate is unique and grounded in the concept of quality first".
I look forward to another busy year of assisting buyers and sellers with marketing, purchasing and sales; and based on the activity we have already seen this first quarter, I am confident that the market will continue to improve.
If you have any questions about this report, or would like any additional information or statistics, please feel free to contact me at anytime.