Vermont #1 in vacant homes

By Guy Page

Vermont – even while suffering its tightest housing market ever – has the highest percentage of vacant homes in the nation, according to a March 1 Lending Tree study.

22.86% of all Vermont homes are vacant, according to the study. The second highest is Maine with 22.68%. 

According to the Lending Tree study, Vermont has 341,405 housing units. 78,052 are vacant. Median home value is $235,000. 

“Homes can be vacant for a variety of reasons, and just because an area has a high vacancy rate doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with its housing market,” says Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economist analyst. “Instead, it could mean that the area is rapidly building new homes for sale in order to satisfy high buyer demand; it can also mean that an area is a popular spot for secondary or vacation homes that go unused for most of the year.”

Vermont has the oldest housing stock in the nation and, due to many factors including a shortage of workers and an excess of regulation, is not “rapidly building new homes for sale.” Like Maine, Vermont has a strong ‘second home’ presence due in part to the ski industry. 

At least two other reasons have been suggested. A lawmaker with a strong banking background has suggested that the combination of low interest rates and a surging home market have made housing an excellent investment. Therefore, people of means are buying Vermont homes for their rapid value appreciation, not necessarily as personal domiciles. Also, state housing officials have long recognized the growing vacancy of older urban homes, due in part to the high cost of rehabbing to meet state energy and other housing standards. The Scott administration is attempting to allocate more funds for rehabs of older housing. 

Categories: Business

6 replies »

  1. Thank you Guy Page, this is interesting and deserves more attention and investigation. all we hear is how there is NOT enough housing….the other part of trickle down is putting the information out there that meets your goals (our legislature…government in Vt)….and very few media outlets wander from the given narrative……so kudos, thank you…

  2. Way I see it, if we get more housing, we’ll just get more people moving here with even more dumb ideas. If these folks just want to visit, pay taxes on their vacation homes, and keep voting elsewhere, well, I suppose that’s a pretty fair compromise.

    • Way I see it, we don’t need new residents “with even more dumb ideas”, we do quite well by our selves creating “more dumb ideas”. Have you checked the happenings at the legislature and city counsels lately? Or school districts? How about less law enforcement, open prostitution, children voting, abortion tax support, removing parental control from education, non-citizens voting, voiding patriotic holidays (like Fourth of July), paying expensive hotel rooms for nere-do-wells, turning parks over to shanty town inhabitants, forcing our Vermont residents to spend millions on unimaginable and unneeded “green campaign authorities”. We have let this happen, all to ourselves!

  3. In a stretch of road I drive very regularly about 25 miles there are several vacant houses.One day you drive by and people live there and the next time you drive by they are empty..
    These are pre Covid so I doubt that’s the reason. I would bet it’s due to Vermonts high property taxes, cost of living, and everything else the Legislature piles on homeowners. The bottomless pit does have a bottom!! Until our Liberal members of the Legislature start treating taxpaying VERMONTERS less like a personal piggy bank, and start finding more ways to SPEND less, we will continue to have many vacant houses in Vermont

  4. For some people, walking away was the only option. The cost of livng is far too high and the income potential is far too low. After 2008, the State squandered all opportunities to recover. Many came here in 2020/2021. I bet most are going to turn around and leave once they discover they can’t make a decent living here and our institutions failing. A small State with too many small minds running it. We are a failed State. It is a heart-breaking fact.

  5. Planning, ZONING dozens of permits for each dwelling, Hundreds of mandates, bureaucracies of every flavor! PERFECT OR PERISH!!

    Everything since Act 250, and Act 200 has been the enemy of ADEQUATE housing, affordable housing, owned homes, rentals, AVAILABLE FOR CITIZENS

    People who are ready for housing, and folks ready to build them,
    are all stalled in a massive pile of paperwork and rejections.

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