February 2012, Friends and neighbors: We are happy to share with you our "Snyder Donegan Real Estate Market Report" summarizing the market in 2011.
It is clear that the flames of recovery that had begun to crackle during the first half of 2011 were snuffed out - at least temporarily -- due to the Irene Flood, stock market volatility (over European problems) and renewed economic uncertainty during the Fall. Was there a leaf season? With the area in shock, shut down and in rebuilding mode -- the actual number of home sales in the final quarter of the year was off only slightly from the 3rd quarter, but most of these sales were in the lower price ranges. For example, the average price of homes sold in the 4th quarter was $271,000 compared with the full year average of $670,000. And the last high--end (> $1 million) closing was in mid--August.
Despite the strong start, 2011 ended up basically being a repeat of 2010. 2011 was the fourth year in a row of slower--than--average home sales. Specifically, in Woodstock and the six surrounding towns (the "Greater Woodstock Area"), eighty--five (85) homes sold in 2011, which is roughly similar to the annual sales levels for 2008--2010. This compares with sales in the peak years of 2004--2007, when 131 homes sold on average. Thus, the inventory of homes for sales is still high. Twenty--two (22) homes sold in the 4th quarter, yet thirty--five (35) new homes came on the market. The area continues to have a generous supply of homes for sale, and 2012 will be another "buyer's market". Again, competitive pricing continues to be important if sellers are truly motivated to sell.
Because of the quality of homes in the greater Woodstock area and the deep financial strength of our community, overall prices are holding steady. For example, Woodstock sellers on average conceded a final 12% off their listing price to move on in their lives, which is only slightly lower than the long term average of approximately 9%. (Said differently, the ratio of sold to last--listed price was 88% for all of 2011).
The market for homes priced over $1 million went quiet after the stock market volatility in August and the Irene Flood. Zero (0) homes sold over $1 million during the 4th quarter compared with four (4) high--end sales during 4Q2010. Yet with some high--end homes being withdrawn for the winter, we ended the year with 37 homes priced over $1 million for sale in the Greater Woodstock area, compared with 45 homes > $1 million at the end of the third quarter. Overall, eight (8) homes priced over $1 million sold in the area during 2011 vs. only six (6) in 2010. We expect the appetite for high--end homes will resume the pick--up that had started before the Irene/Stock Market disruption in the 2nd half of 2011.
The greater Woodstock area has a wonderful history, New England charm, deep pockets and staying power. That is why it has always been the most stable / secure long--term real estate market in Vermont.