Feature Stories

The Secret is Out and People are Moving to Vermont

For generations, the migration pattern of humanity shows the flow of people from rural to urban areas.  People always left for opportunities; to get ahead, to make a life for themselves.  First they left for easier living by finding jobs in the factories of the industrial revolution – an actual wage and just a 6 day work week. No farms ever had a six day work week. After the industrial revolution, people left rural areas for corporate jobs in the big cities, and more recently they left for jobs in the tech sectors. Cites grew into boomtowns and their densities exploded.

All the while Vermont stayed largely the same, except for some barely noticeable high tech fiber optic cable hanging on the old grey power poles. The farmer still plowed the fields, the rivers still flowed, the mountains remained green, and Lake Champlain still lapped at its shaley shores.  The cows barely noticed a change. Vermont didn’t grow like our northeast neighbors but we did evolve. With limited and slow growth, we preserved our rural and agrarian heritage. We cleaned up and polished our industrial areas such as the Burlington Waterfront. Vermont has come of age with strong local food movement and an appreciation of local artists. We have a very high rate of entrepreneurship and we are known as a great place to start and grow a business. We developed unparalleled access to nature through trails and parks. More lately, Vermont has done a good job in building a high tech infrastructure, so even many of the most remote towns have access to a high speed internet. All of these elements make our Vermont home a very good place to live. Beyond the tangible, Vermont seems to value what is authentic and truly good in an almost intangible way.

It took some time for the secret to get out but somewhere along the way, people began to realize what they were missing and began to migrate back to Vermont. This inflow of people was evident in 2018, when CNBC reported that on balance, Vermont was the most popular state to move to and the data shows that the trend has continued through 2020.    

As we all now know, the first half of 2020 has been a calamity with the worst Pandemic since 1918. COVID 19 seemed to unfairly target densely populated urban areas and made living in large cities downright dangerous. This was followed by massive social unrest that has made Vermont an agrarian mecca and even more attractive to those stuck in the city. Moreover, the pandemic also forced most workers to leave their densely packed corporate offices to the new normal of working from home. Many companies declared that employees would be not only allowed to work from home, but expected to work from home, indefinitely. That has many asking, if I could live anywhere in the world… where would that be?  Clearly for many that answer is Vermont.

As I write this, there are many, silently, packing up their stuff, and they are coming to make a better life here. My office has been inundated with calls as to how to help people find a home here in Vermont. My answer has always been, after two weeks of quarantine, I’m happy to help them find their slice of heaven or they can buy sight unseen in the meantime. To my shock, I have sold properties, sight unseen, this year which I admit was an unfathomable concept until now.

So is all of this good for our Vermont? I believe it is. As mentioned above, Vermont is very good at maintaining our state, our built & natural environment, and our core values. Adding people to our mix won’t change who we are. It’s also very good that the people are moving here by choice, because they consider our state to be their ideal home too. We have shared values with the newcomers who will make us even more vibrant and enhance our culture through diversity of people and ideas. So if you see a flatlander move into the neighborhood, be sure to welcome them home. And overall, be thankful, because your property value likely just went up.

Ben Durant is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® and Owner of Transitions Real Estate. He is dedicated to helping Vermont Seniors and Boomers find their best housing solutions. Ben lives with his wife and three children in Williston. He can be contacted by visiting Transitionsvt.com or by calling 802-355-6688.

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Comments (3)

  1. We were one of those, that had thoughts of moving to Vermont ( pre-Covid) but Covid definitely quickened our decision. I wish we had done more research on the area, as we bought a house sight unseen, in a town that we had no idea about. We were definitely feeling the frenzy of making an offer, since we had heard that VT houses were selling quickly. While the house has potential -the town unfortunately is not what we expected. We were under the impression that it was an industrial town that was getting revitalized. Unfortunately, I think the town has a ways to go. The house is solid, the views are beautiful, the neighbors are great, but it is definitely is not the quaint Vermont town I was hoping for. I’m wondering how many out of state buyers are feeling buyers remorse for not finding that quintessential quaint Vermont town..

  2. So now Vermont will be ruined.

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