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2016 Mad River Valley Real Estate Market Recap

Posted on 1/17/2017 by David M. Dion

At Mad River Valley Real Estate (MRVRE) we hope your 2017 is off to a great start! December featured some fantastic early season skiing and despite the obligatory early January thaw we can at least say all three ski mountains (Lincoln Peak, Mount Ellen, and Mad River Glen) now have a solid base (this means the ground is frozen!) to work with. And so now winter sports enthusiasts are all anxious for a few nor’easters to bring on some bountiful snowfall.  At MRVRE we’re looking forward to all of the advanced predictions to come true because they all say lots of snow in the next few months!

2016 was a very exciting year at Mad River Valley Real Estate (formerly David M. Dion Real Estate). Our MRVRE branding strategy continually seeks to collaborate with all things Mad River Valley. The most notable can be seen on the back cover of the always popular Waitsfield Telecom telephone book.  Additionally, MRVRE is sponsoring the Mad River Glen webcam and we are very thankful to our friends at Mad River Glen for that collaboration.  We also have a web cam strategically placed on the eastern side of the Mad River Valley and looking toward the Green Mountains. So now you can see up to the moment weather from your computer or smartphone. Look for more branding initiatives in 2017 as we continue our tradition as the most trusted resource in the Mad River Valley for all of your real estate related needs.

The Mad River Valley experienced robust sale activity in 2015, and we were hopeful for continued recovery in 2016 from the very challenging years of 2008 – 2012. However, even though the number of sales overall was about the same as 2015 the total dollar volume of sales was down significantly. (This has been difficult to accurately track because real estate sales in Waitsfield have largely not been reported to the Vermont Tax Department since August. Does anyone have any influence with our friends at the Waitsfield Clerks Office?) In any event we could be in for a challenging 2017 so you will want to stay in close contact with your local real estate resource to be certain you are making well-informed real estate decisions.

MRVRE has a long history of participating in extra-ordinary real estate sales and 2016 was no exception. Following are a few highlights:

MRVRE participated in two Butternut Hill condominium sales at about the same time. This was significant because on the first sale MRVRE represented the seller in obtaining the highest sales price in 2016 while on the second sale MRVRE represented the purchasers in obtaining the lowest sales price in 2016. The moral of the story is whether you are a seller or a buyer your real estate agent can have significant influence when representing your needs!

In other news Partner Steve Robbins is currently working on a very exciting project in Waitsfield. We hope the result will be a new brewery for the world famous Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Steve also exchanged matrimonial vows with former client Regina Trailweaver giving new meaning to exceptional customer service!  We all wish Regina and Steve well in their future adventures together. 

Partner Erik Reisner enjoyed his highest number of sales and highest dollar volume of real estate sales ever.  Erik also continues his extra-ordinary contribution to the Mad River Valley community by serving as a volunteer for the Mad River Valley Ambulance.  When not selling real estate or enjoying time with his wife and two precious daughters he’s also been known to drive cars to the top of hills very fast, and without breaking the law!

Contrary to rumors being spread by the competition Partner David Dion is still selling real estate in the Mad River Valley.  Indeed David continues to enjoy the most real estate sales and the highest dollar volume of sales in the Mad River Valley since statistics started being recorded in the late 1990’s. When not selling real estate he is making great progress at his eco-ranch in Costa Rica.  The lodge has already welcomed its first guests and over 40 perennial food crops are being cultivated including banana, coffee, cacao, mango and orange.  The herd includes Brahman cattle, chickens, ducks, turkey, tilapia fish and honey bees. Ok maybe this has nothing to do with MRVRE sales in the Mad River Valley but we’re excited about it anyway!

MRVRE is pleased to announce Brent Adams is now a licensed real estate agent.  In addition to holding down the office manager position Brent is also now working with buyers and sellers in servicing their real estate needs. We can all look forward to Brent breaking some real estate records soon.

Most importantly, we were all blessed with our loyal and supportive clients and forged many wonderful new relationships in 2016. To all who helped MRVRE along the way, a huge thank you!

Following is a recap of the 2016 real estate market based on MLS reported real estate sales in the Mad River Valley towns of Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren, (information from the Northern New England Real Estate Network, Inc. for the period 01/01/16 – 12/31/16). Please call or write if you are interested in a recap of real estate data and trends in specific areas outside of the Mad River Valley:

In 2016 there were a total of 175 MLS reported real estate sales (up from 171 sales in 2015 and 156 sales in 2014).

79 residential sales ranging from $14,000 to $1,757,000 (86 sales in 2015 and 75 sales in 2014).
04 @   < $100,000        (04 sales in 2015 and 02 sales in 2014)
16 @      $100,000 - $199,000    (09 sales in 2015 and 14 sales in 2014)
25 @      $200,000 - $299,000    (29 sales in 2015 and 26 sales in 2014)
13 @      $300,000 - $399,000    (19 sales in 2015 and 16 sales in 2014)
08 @      $400,000 - $499,000    (09 sales in 2015 and 10 sales in 2014)
05 @      $500,000 - $599,000    (04 sales in 2015 and 03 sales in 2014)
04 @      $600,000 - $699,000    (06 sales in 2015 and 03 sales in 2014)
01 @      $700,000 - $799,000    (01 sales in 2015 and 01 sales in 2014)
03 @      > $800,000        (05 sales in 2015 and 00 sales in 2014)

74 condominium sales ranging from $24,000 to $1,250,000 (59 sales in 2015 and 57 sales in 2014)
23 @    < $100,000        (14 sales in 2015 and 22 sales in 2014)
29 @       $100,000 - $199,000    (27 sales in 2015 and 19 sales in 2014)
12 @       $200,000 - $299,000    (12 sales in 2015 and 11 sales in 2014)
08 @       $300,000 - $399,000    (04 sales in 2015 and 03 sales in 2014)
02 @    > $400,000        (02 sales in 2015 and 02 sales in 2014)

22 land sales ranging from $15,000 - $275,000 (23 sales in 2015 and 16 sales in 2014).
15 @   < $100,000        (08 sales in 2015 and 05 sales in 2014)
03 @      $100,000 - $199,000    (11 sales in 2015 and 06 sales in 2014)
04 @      $200,000 - $300,000    (01 sales in 2015 and 04 sales in 2014)
00 @      $300,000 - $400,000    (02 sales in 2015 and 00 sales in 2014)
00 @      $400,000 - $499,000    (01 sales in 2015 and 00 sales in 2014)
00 @     >$500,000        (00 sales in 2015 and 01 sales in 2014)

04 commercial sales        (03 sales in 2015 and 01 sales in 2014)

Check out our website at and click on “blog” to see some very insightful graphs depicting the Mad River Valley real estate market.  2016 was not a good year for what was supposed to be a continued rebound in the market.  While the number of sales was roughly even with last year the gross dollar volume of sales really suffered.  Additionally, while Interest rates are still near historic lows (3.125% interest for a fifteen year fixed rate on a primary home) all indications suggest the rate will inch upward in 2017.

The luxury and hospitality (lodge, B&B, Inn, restaurant) markets continue to show the greatest weakness in sales.  As a result, these areas offer some of the very best buying opportunities with some sales at close to 70% of 2005 values.  Additionally, the land market continues to languish with only 22 sales (there should be 30 or more sales a year). As a result, there are many great land opportunities out there right now. Homes in the $100,000 - $400,000 price range and condominiums in the under $300,000 price range are seeing by far the greatest sale activity. This is the area of the Mad River Valley real estate market wherein property values are actually starting to appreciate again.

Presently there are 88 single family residential properties for sale (down from 113 at this time in 2016, 140 in 2015 and 147 in 2014) and with 09 of those properties under contract. This is a clear indication that the inventory if finally getting down to more normal supply/demand levels.  Today there are 110 condominiums for sale with 4 under contract, and 83 parcels of land for sale with 3 under contract.

Whether it’s a seller’s market or a buyer’s market the best opportunities for sale include a desirable location, good overall condition, and realistic pricing.  By contrast if you are in a less desirable location, with a lot of deferred maintenance and you are asking a premium price, then in that event you should expect your property to be for sale for a very long while.

Clearly those who are best informed are making the most prudent buying and selling decisions in the Mad River Valley. And it’s no coincidence that at MRVRE our clients are realizing some of the best purchase and sale opportunities.  Indeed the mission of MRVRE is to provide the highest level of professional service in order for our clients to make informed real estate and financial decisions.  We are proud to state we consistently get results that “move” you!

Please visit our real estate blog for monthly updates on real estate activity and of course do not hesitate to call or write anytime with your questions or comments.

From all of us at MRVRE best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!

5513 Main Street, Waitsfield, VT 05673 | 802-496-5000 |