It was no secret that Vermont had the lowest number of COVID-19 cases of any state in the nation. Some said it was because no one lives here, but the reality is that our population density on a people per square mile basis is about average. The fact is Vermont, as a community, handled the problem beautifully because we are a community. At around 650,000 residents, we are small enough to have cohesion. We care for one another; we respect and help our neighbor. In some states, mask wearing became a political football. Here, it was something we did to help our neighbors as much as to help ourselves, because it was rational and respectful.
The pandemic caused the media to shine a spotlight on sleepy Vermont and people started to come almost immediately. In the beginning, people who had second homes or strong connections here, relocated away. Now it seems that I get calls daily from all points across the globe. During this time of crisis, people sought rational communities that were beautiful, safe, and respectful, where focus is still on quality of life. And they still are still coming.
There are some interesting bits of data supporting this from places like United Van Lines, and the US Postal Service that show big increases in people moving to Vermont. As a real estate agent with boots on the ground, I can say firsthand that the number of out of state buyers now represents about half of the home buyers that I meet. Home prices have risen; accordingly, up about 25% over last year. When I price homes these days, I start high, and let the bidding begin like an auctioneer setting a reserve. I typically see dozens of offers that settle significantly over the asking price. It is certainly a good time to sell, especially if you have someplace else to go.
It is still important to have a good agent to help you sell your home and make it look it’s very best. Even in a strong seller’s market, a home in tip top showing condition will sell for more. The right agent will earn their commission by creating a bidding war that will ensure a home will reach its highest selling price. They can also help you find a needle in a haystack in this very tight market.
In my many conversations with the people that are vying to move to the Green Mountain State, I’ve come to realize that our COVID numbers aren’t the real reason why people are seeking out Vermont. They are coming for the beauty, the quality of life, and above all the strength of our communities. Our handling of COVID, is just a symptom of our community and our interconnectedness.
Ben Durant is a leading Senior Real Estate Specialist in the State of Vermont and has a passion for supporting and defending his clients through the process of downsizing, right-sizing, and relocating in Vermont. Ben lives with his wife, Amy, and three children in Williston VT. He can be reached at Ben@TransitionsVT.com or by calling directly at 802-355-6688.