MONTPELIER (AP) – While a slump continues to grip the national housing market, Vermont is one of two states-the other is North Dakota-that have seen prices increasing slightly in the past year, according to the Vermont Association of Realtors.
“It seems we have weathered the national storm,” said the association’s Executive Vice President, Robert Hill.Â “We are better off than the national trend.”
New home sales declined nationally for the fourth straight month, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported, while the median price for a home fell 2.7 percent nationally.
The most recent data shows that the national housing market may have hit bottom and be turning the corner, Hill said. “A lot of the fundamentals have come around,” he said.Â
Vermont has been relatively insulated from volatility in the national housing market due to a range of factors, Hill and others said.
The state’s permitting process for new home construction has a reputation for being tough; banks in New England tend to be conservative and did not follow the boom in subprime mortgages that have left many homeowners around the country facing foreclosure.
Vermont’s housing market also has been tightened by people, mainly from out of state, buying what had been primary residences for Vermonters as second homes.
The flip side of a relatively strong market is a lack of affordability for many.
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency reported last week that the median home prince in Vermont had more that doubled since 1996.Â That price in 2007, $201,000 was up 2 percent from a year earlier, VHFA said.
Wages have not kept pace, it said, leaving many Vermonters struggling to afford a place to live.
“Vermont in many ways never sees the booms and the busts in many areas,” said John Hall, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs.Â “In fact despite price declines nationally, Vermont faces the opposite problem-a lack of enough housing.
“We still have demand that is outpacing our supply,” Hall said.Â “We have had almost a decade of an average of double-digit increases in housing.Â It had to slow down sometime.Â We haven’t seen any drastic slowdown in sales or demand.”
Reprinted with permission from The Bennington Banner
Bennington VT, Buying, Selling, Press Release, Market Outlook