Vt. real-estate slipping: 2004-07 home sales decline 33%

MONTPELIER Median prices of single-family homes in Vermont fell in late fall and early winter compared to a year earlier, according to the April-May issue of Vermont Property Owners Report. The dip came after several years of declining sales volume in Vermont. The median price of single-family primary homes processed by the Vermont Tax Department in the November 2007 through February 2008 period, $204,400, was 2.6 percent lower than in the same time period a year earlier, and 6.6 percent lower than in the May to August period last summer, the newsletter said. The median price was particularly low in December, then rose above $200,000 again in January and February. Data for sales processed in March indicates the median price has remained level, though this is a time of year when there are relatively few sales processed by the state. One ray of light: the early winter decline in the Vermont median sales price was not as large as occurred elsewhere, partly because Vermont has had less subprime mortgage lending and foreclosure activity than other states. According to the Case-Schiller index of existing-home prices in 20 large cities nationwide, home values in January 2008 were 10.7 percent lower than in January 2007. Median prices for single-family homes in Vermont had been rising, but the rate of increase slowed in recent years as sales volume dropped off. In 2004, there were 8,388 single-family primary home sales processed by the state; by 2007, that number dropped to 5,586, a 33 percent decline. The overall real estate sales volume continued to drop in recent months. In the November 2007 to February 2008 period, the number of property transfer tax returns submitted to the state fell 21.4 percent from the same time a year earlier. Property transfer tax revenues were off 26.5 percent.

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