Blog :: 08-2011

Brown Bag Lunch

Montpelier Alive Celebrates Community Members


Photo by Jim Sheridan


At last Thursday's Brown Bag Lunch, all in attendance enjoyed the music of the Star Line Rhythm Boys and Montpelier Alive  used the gathering to double as their annual meeting.

On an average Thursday in summer, Brown Bag's are a great opportunity to get outside during the lunch hour and see some local musicians jam out.  It's also an excuse to walk by the hotdog vendor and chat with the folks in line. This week, it was an occasion for awards:

WDEV Radio AM 550 from Waterbury received an award for outstanding support following flooding in the wake of heavy rains that fell on May 26.

Andrew Brewer of Onion River Sports, Onion River Kids & The Shoe Horn was presented the Downtown Spirit Award for his indominable energy and efforts to make our downtown exciting and inviting.

Montpelier Alive board member Lynn Syz was declared "Outstanding Volunteer" for her many contributions to the community.

Our own Mary Heney and Tim Heney of the Heney Family Main Street LLC received a Downtown Stewardship award for projects in the works behind 73 Main Street. The goal is to create a more welcoming, accessible and appealing environment bordering the back of the Blanchard Block. Thinking about this underutilized space in the center of town, we are excited to imagine sitting out back on a bench that overlooks more than a city parking lot.

As Mayor Mary Hooper loves to say, "Great places do not happen accidentally."

Central Vermont Fun: Property Taxes

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Property taxes are not the most exciting topic.  It's not really even a topic that most people like to talk about, but it is part of life. With the publication of the 2011 tax bills, we've seen a couple of interesting developments in our area: 

1. Montpelier's property tax rate actually went down in 2011-2012 from the 2010-2010 fiscal year. If there is an explanation, we don't have it on hand, but we only know this to be unusual. In fact, we can't remember the last time this happened.

2. The second big development is that Berlin's non-residential property tax rate was lower the residential rate.  This is a rarity.  The non-residential tax rate in Berlin for this fiscal year is 1.7401% and the residential rate is 1.7638%.

A Word to the Wise

Remember that if you bought property, you're responsible for paying the property tax bills, even if you don't get a bill in the mail.  If you haven't received the bill, it's a good idea to head down to the Town Clerk and get a copy.  The penalties aren't fun.

Until next time, I'm off in search of a more dazzling subject.

Montpelier Multi-Family Properties

Investment Properties Downtown

Once upon a time, owning and living in a multi-family was the way to build net worth, equity, save for retirement, and still get to live in a great neighborhood.  Actually, that still holds true today.


Montpelier multi-family property

1 First Ave. 4 unit with garage


Right now, there are several gorgeous rental properties on the market in Montpelier. There's a mint condition three unit on Loomis Street near Union Elementary -- more accurately, located across the street.  People call the office daily looking for a place to live within walking distance of downtown.  Today, I'm .

There are currently two great multi-family investment properties for sale on First Avenue. They both have four units, are fully rented, and all the leases are month-to-month. 

1 First Avenue has a lovely first floor three-bedroom unit and a detached garage. Up the street, find a two-bedroom house that shares a wall witht he original three-unit building. The latter would be perfect for an owner-occupant, since there's that much more separation.


Montpelier Multi-Family properties

1 First Ave. 4 unit with garage


 If you're a little handy, there's a great two unit on 5 Liberty Street as well. The second floor unit is in good condition, and shows what the rest of the building could look like.  The second unit is on the 2nd and 3rd floor.  Owners, take your pick. Live in one, work on one, or just rent it out.

What would several hundred dollars a month per unit in rent do to your bottom line? Don't underestimate the daily savings of living within walking distance of downtown Montpelier on a Saturday morning, even in the snowy months.

July Market Report - Hot Off the Press

Central Vermont By Numbers

At long last, here are June's unofficial numbers for the Barre/Montpelier real estate market:

  Active New in June Closed in June Under Deposit Price Change
Barre City 79 13 7 7 18
Barre Town 67 13 11 5 20
Montpelier 53 10 13 4 5
U32 83 18 6 7 24
Northfield 46 12 4 2 7
Totals 328 66 41 25 74


 For comparison at your leisure, here are the numbers from last year:

  Active June 2010 Active June 2011 New to MktJune 2010 New to MktJune 2011 Closed June '09-June'10 Closed June '10-June '11
Barre City 78 79 14 13 80 63
Barre Town 73 67 6 13 67 64
Montpelier 47 53 5 10 82 65
U32 76 83 4 18 57 56
Northfield 38 46 2 12 33 20
Totals 312 328 31 66 319 268

A Few Remarks

For the second month in a row, the number of sales in the Barre/Montpelier real estate market is significantly lower than a year ago.  Rolling twelve month sales in June 2009-June 2010 were 319 and only 268 from June 2010-June 2011.  Barre City, Montpelier and Northfield saw the largest dips in numbers of houses sold, while  Barre Town and the U32 district were remarkably consistent compared to last year. 

The other number that's worth mentioning is number of properties that came onto the market in June. Of the five towns in the area, only Barre City added as many new listings in June 2010 as in 2011.  The other four saw a bump in the number of properties that came onto the market in June. Overall, there were 66 new listings in the area in June.  Having said that, the total number of properties for sale is more or less unchanged.  

What does it mean?

If the number of sales is lower and the number of new listings is higher, it suggests that we're still in a buyers' market.  Surprised? We've been hearing that for the last three years.