Charting the ups and downs of home sale prices

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MANCHESTER - "It has been a very interesting ride," says Brian DeCesare, of Green Mountain Appraisals, a close observer of the Northshire residential real estate market since the 1970s.

DeCesare, a partner with the Manchester-based firm, has worked in the field for 31 years and previously was a home builder. Asked to provide an overview of the home sales market in Manchester and Dorset over the past tumultuous decade, he said the salient point today is that the market has stabilized.

"The market is stable and showing signs of increasing slowly," DeCesare said, adding that "from the standpoint of an appraiser, stable is good."

DeCesare traced a roller-coaster ride in the Northshire towns since 2003, both in terms of total annual sales and in average sale prices, which were generally up, then down, then down again, and now reflect a modest rise in both categories.



MANCHESTER SALES

In Manchester, he said, the home market hit a peak toward the end of 2003-05, with an average of about 90 sales per year. That dipped to 65 in 2006-07, then fell to a nadir of 48 in 2008-09, as the Great Recession and financial markets meltdown hit full force.

By 2010, home sales recovered to average about 60 through 2011 and 2012, he said, and "jumped a bit" to about 75 over 2013-14. There was another dip in 2015, which those in the local real estate market also noted, when Manchester sales fell to 63.

However, DeCesare said that in 2016 through Dec. 1, there were 75 sales and 11 more homes under contract, which he believes will bring the final total for the year into the mid-80s.



DORSET SALES

In Dorset, he said, there were an average of 48 sales per year in 2003-06, dropping off to about 26 per year in 2007-09 and to a low point for the town of 15 sales in 2010.

Dorset sales rose to an average of 34 in 2011-12, then to 48 in 2013-14, falling off a bit to 43 in 2015.

In 2016, he said, there were 43 sales by Dec. 1, with another 11 sales under contract.

BOTTOM LINES

DeCesare also pointed to the average sale prices and the available inventory as signs of the relative health of the local home market.

Sale prices in the 2003-05 period in Manchester averaged $510,000, he said, dropping to about $420,000 in 2009 and falling to a low of $350,000 in 2015. However, sales in 2016 through Dec. 1 averaged about $385,000, and DeCesare noted that there were 94 active home listings while "at one time we were in the 120 to 130 range" in Manchester.

If sales for 2016 finish at about 85, he said, the active listings and the sales with "be more in balance" than in recent years.

In Dorset, he said, average sales prices were at $650,000 in 2005-06, fell to between $450,000 and $550,000 from 2007 through 2013; to $401,000 in 2014, and to a low of $380,000 in 2015.

But in 2016, through Dec. 1, the average was $452,000.

Prices "have gradually moderated" from the low points in both towns, he said.

Jim Therrien writes for the Bennington Banner and VTDigger.org. He can be reached at 802-447-7567, ext. 114.




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