July 21, 2017

Killington becoming hot real estate market

Bret Williamson, 13-year Killington Valley Real Estate employee, is in the process of purchasing the company with his wife, Kim. Williamson, 44, has worked at the Basin Ski Shop since he was a sophomore at Castleton where he raced on the Nordic team. A father of two, he's on the Pico Ski Club Board and is also active with the Killington Pico Cycling Club, Killington Chamber of Commerce, and Pine Hill Partnership. PROVIDED PHOTO

KILLINGTON — The Killington region real estate scene has picked up.

Offering what many called the best prices for a major resort area, brokers said the region’s properties offer good values and some bargains. However, there are shortages of certain types of inventory, so prices are starting to rise.

“We don’t see the usual slow period anymore. I think there was really only one slow week since the snow season ended, and we are all finding it very challenging to keep up,” said attorney Marylou Scofield, who is based in Killington and handles real estate closings in the region.

Tricia Carter, a broker and co-owner at Ski Country Real Estate, reported being “out straight” and having “one of my most active springs, with May and June very busy.” She sees a mix of people — couples, families, and retirees — looking for property in Killington and surrounding towns.

Citing reasonable prices, she said even clients have commented that vacation homes out west cost much more.

She thinks that the increase in summer activities in Killington is attracting more people, which is increasing summer rentals for owners who want some income to help cover expenses.

Enthusiastic about the town and real estate scene, Carter said the firm recently added two new sales agents, Chris Bianchi and Merisa Sherman,

Killington Valley Real Estate broker Bret Williamson said he saw double-digit growth in May and June closings this year. Williamson agrees it is still a buyer’s market with good values, but added that appropriately priced properties are moving quickly.

“Activity is strong but inventory is getting low, with a shortage of three-bedroom condos. Prices range from $18,000 for a quarter-share hotel studio to $3.25 million for a single-family home,” he said.

Williamson credits savvy purchasers, who recognize good values and low interest rates as well as being able to capitalize on renting out a property when it’s not in use. “It’s an attractive time for vacation-home buyers and particularly families with the many things to do, from summer camps for kids to biking. Summer rentals are coming back,” he added.

Additionally, Williamson noted, “two customers are exploring Killington as an option because of the elementary school’s high ranking.”

Gary Thompson, of Performance Group Real Estate, agreed that more is happening in the resort area, citing the vibrancy of the Adventure Center at Snowshed, and more summer guests. He sees inventory shrinking, and said, “we’ll see more of a balanced market in the future.”

Doug Quatchak, of ERA Mountain Real Estate, noted that inventory at the slopeside Killington Grand Hotel, which has 133 condo units, is the lowest he’s seen since the 2007-08 crash. There are only 16 fractional ownerships available, with prices ranging from $18,000 for a sleep-two studio to $149,000 for a three-bedroom penthouse, he said.

The quartershare ownerships are for 13 weeks each, so 16 available quartershares out of 532 means prices are starting to rebound, but prices are lower than what you find nationally or even at other Vermont areas, he said. He explained the hotel’s popularity, stating, it’s a “hassle-free product” with fitness center, restaurant, pool, views, rental program and an attractive location.

Home and condo sales

Ted Crawford, co-owner of Prestige Real Estate, which handles properties in Killington, said that total sales volume — Killington zip code only — has averaged around $8 million for the first half of each year since 2013, except for 2015, which saw over $10 million. This year is the second-highest in first-half revenue (In 2015 total market revenue was over $20 million, its highest level since 2006 and 16 percent higher than the 10-year average.)

Crawford noted, “More homes sold at a higher price during the first half of this year than the same period last year. Prices for the 13 single-family homes sold ranged from $174,000 to $805,000 in Killington.” Crawford said it was the first time since mid-2015 that a home sold for over $500,000. Additionally, he said, a June listing at $1.95 million in Killington went under contract. He had no explanation for the uptick in those higher-price home sales.

Williamson also said he had just put a $550,000 home under contract. He thinks all the activity from the World Cup to the growth of summer attractions, coupled with good values, are coming together in “a recipe for success.”

Carter said she had a house sell for over $500,000 in June for a residence on the Pittsfield/Stockbridge line.

While “about the same number of condos sold,” as the first half of 2016, prices were 17 percent lower on average, Crawford noted. Of the 33 condos sold in Killington, one-bedroom, one-bath condos sold from $45,000 to $110,000 while two-bedroom, two-baths ranged from $82,000 to $170,000, and three-bedrooms, three-baths from $225,000 to $425,000. Prices depend on the condo complex, location, amenities and homeowners association fees.

Currently, some condo complexes have low inventory, with just one unit for sale at Fall Line and Winterberry and none at Glazebrook or Pico Slopeside according to NEREN MLS June 30 data, which lists inventory of 37 condos.

Local lending

“Vermont lenders are optimistic about increased home-buyer activity as the economy continues to improve. Home buyers should make every effort to ‘shop local’ when looking for vacation-home financing, as local, smaller lenders are generally more in tune with the attributes of the local housing market and can relay information to underwriters and others to keep a transaction moving forward,” Scofield said.

Agents and brokers agreed. “Purchasers who aren’t paying cash should use a local lender, because it takes longer for out-of-state lenders to offer a mortgage. They aren’t familiar with local properties and can hold up a closing,” said Crawford.

Carter added that many purchasers are still paying cash, explaining that low interest rates on savings also cause people to invest in vacation homes they can enjoy. They use them both summer and winter now, thanks to all the things to do in Killington and nearby towns.


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