(Host) While many Vermont industries have taken economic hits over the past few years – real estate isn’t one of them.
As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, real estate agents across Vermont did pretty well last year, and most expect 2004 to be even better.
(Keck) Realtors throughout Rutland County are reporting strong sales. Joan Watson, co-owner of Coldwell Bakers’ Watson Realty says their numbers were up 20 percent and she says prices throughout Rutland County have also been climbing.
(Watson) “The surrounding counties have had higher pricing and have been getting those prices for many years, and now Rutland County is catching up.”
(Keck) Rutland area prices have traditionally been lower, says Watson, because the county lacks an interstate connection and has little manufacturing. Home prices are climbing, she says, because demand is higher than the current supply and because of the stock market.
(Watson) “One of the things that we found out is that real estate gets strong when the stock market is weak. People are investing in something that is a sure thing and real estate is a sure thing.”
(Keck) Well, usually. But it’s not just the economy. Brian Boardman, of Coldwell Banker Hickok and Boardman realty in Chittenden County says they’re still feeling the impact of 9-11. He says many of his customers had dreamed of moving to Vermont for years, but finally decided to do it after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Rick Carrick, of Pall Spera Realtors in Stowe, says technology is also helping the real estate market in Vermont. He says people who had been tied to their big city offices are more able to telecommute and live in a small Vermont town if they choose.
And what about concerns over interest rates? Most of those interviewed said that even if rates go up somewhat, they’ll still be a bargain compared to where they were just a few years ago.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck.