I am blown away by how good things are in the Vermont Real Estate Market. Specializing in Foreclosure sales gives me a unique experience of working in many markets in many price ranges. Right now, in January 2009, I am finding perhaps the best real estate market I have seen in the pst 6 years that I have been in real estate sales.
Houses are selling and buyers are everywhere. It appears that the confluence of decreased home values, great interest rates and a distrust in the stock market has brought buyers back in force. It certainly hasn't hurt that Vermont (Burlington specifically) has been named as a Real Estate "safe haven" as well.
So here is what I have found. If you purchased a home in 2005-2008 you are best to hang on to your home. In most cases, it is best to hang onto a home for a minimum of 5 years to see a return on your investment anyway, so that really is not much of a change. But if you bought your house any time prior to that, you should see a reasonable return on a sale in this market. UNLESS, you have leveraged your equity during 2005-2006 when home prices were unnaturally inflated. In this case, you will still see a return from purchase price, but you could owe more that your home is currently worth.
Also, the massive dysfunction in the mortgage practices in 2005-2007, created an increase in "unnatural" buyers driving home prices up. Now that those buyers are out of the market, (and many are now out of their homes too,) home prices are back to experiencing normal growth as opposed to the crazy increases we saw during those years.
If you can buy - meaning you have 5-20% to put down, have good credit scores, and decent income, now is the time to buy. If you bought or refinanced between 2005-2008 hang on to your home if you can. At least until spring. Unless we have another "shoe drop" (lay offs, business closings, national or natural diaster) I predict an upswing in the market. But what do I know! Meanwhile, buy a foreclosure. Now is the time!!