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WCAX TV Feature on Vermont Real Estate Sales in the Pandemic Era


RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) Spring and summer are usually busy for real estate agents. And we've learned most have been even busier than usual. Our Olivia Lyons explains why the coronavirus pandemic has a lot to do with the increase in sales.

Real estate agents I spoke with say the demand for houses is incredibly high across the state.

Reporter Olivia Lyons: How has the real estate business been lately?
Joan Watson/Watson Realty & Associates Joan: It's like a house on fire!

Real estate agents all over Vermont say there aren't enough houses to keep up with the abnormally high demand. Interest rates are low for buyers and out of staters are fleeing pandemic hot zones for Vermont after realizing they can work remotely from anywhere.

"As soon as we reopened again for real estate, it just seemed as if the flood gates had opened and buyers were just at an all-time high," said Mark Montross of the Catamount Realty Group. Montross is working with multiple clients leaving larger cities to retire in Northern Vermont. He also sees many millennials opting to buy instead of rent.

But it's not just homes in touristy areas. Real estate agents tell me people are buying primary and secondary homes all across the state.

"I listed a house in Mendon today and within three hours I had seven showings scheduled for it," Kershner said.

Many locals are realizing they need to upsize or downsize after being home for so long.

"As soon as a property comes on, I'm always quick to get in there to show them and we'll write an offer up and then next thing you know, there's four or five other offers on the table," Montross said.

Many buyers are paying over asking price and taking big chances. "People are buying houses without even seeing them. And not just locally, but long-distance," Watson said.

Kershner says those buying houses sight unseen aren't unemployed and while this brings money to the economy now, it can hurt future home sales. "I do think we're going to see a long run of high demand and probably considerable price appreciation, and that's going to have a sort of detrimental effect on affordable housing," he said. Kershner told me Vermont has had a negative outflow of people for years. But he predicts that gap will close and Vermont will see more people moving into the state, than out.

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