Home sales increased slightly in Vermont, mainly because of homes that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irene moving though the area over the summer, and low mortgage rates. An estimated 700 homes were damaged or destroyed in the freak tropical storm that struck the state, the worst natural disaster to hit Vermont since 1927.
Some entire small towns were cut-off from aid for days following the storm in central and southern Vermont. Food and emergency supplies ran thin, but the largest portion of costs facing the region is up to an estimated $99 million to cover the cost of replacing the Waterbury state office complex for 1,500 state employees.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and insurance are expected to pay for the reconstruction that may take at least two years to replace.
The Vermont disaster made national headlines at the time it struck in August. But the region’s economy is otherwise strong with the fourth best unemployment rate in the nation behind only three North Dakota and Nebraska cities.
Strong employment levels with businesses
like Dealer.com and Green Mountain Coffee, among other major firms that make their headquarters in Burlington, keep the economy stable compared to many other areas of the nation. The stability also provides a fairly stable housing market throughout the state with one of the lowest rates of foreclosures in the U.S. ranking 49th, according to RealtyTrac.
Burlington home sales should increase slightly in 2012 as home buyers take advantage of close to record low mortgage rates offered by banks. But sales aren’t expected to surge much higher than last year throughout the year, despite homes that were damaged by Irene. Home prices are forecast to increase minimally, 1.6% by years end.
In South Burlington the volume of housing sales is also expected to experience only gradual gains as home values increase 1.9% for the average homeowner.
Rutland may see a spike in home sales, climbing in the latter half of the year after warmer weather arrives in the area. Home prices should rise 1.9% in 2012.