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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Mad River Valley real estate trends

I enjoyed reading your interesting and informative articles about the real estate market in the Mad River Valley. However, the statistics appeared to create a calamitous picture that I do not believe presently exists.
While it is true the number of actual transactions have decreased over the past few years, I hope readers will focus more on your very positive point that the overall average sale price has continued to rise. Indeed Mad River Valley real estate market values have enjoyed consistent, albeit modest growth since the early 1990s. As a result, a home purchased in the Mad River Valley for $80,000 in the early 1990s might sell today for over $200,000. By contrast the market value of my retirement account is barely in excess of the cumulative annual contributions made since the early 1990s.

Only a relatively small number of the real estate holdings in the Mad River Valley are suffering the painful effects felt in real estate markets across the country. Those effects are likely due to dramatically increased unemployment leading to unprecedented mortgage foreclosures. By contrast, both Vermont and the Mad River Valley enjoy among the lowest foreclosure rates in the country. Perhaps the conservative New England work ethic will carry us through these troubling financial times.
Another important point to consider is real estate ownership offers many tangible benefits in addition to simply "a place to call home." Energy and first-time homebuyer tax credits are real, and the deduction of mortgage interest and property taxes when calculating income tax liability are among the few legitimate tax reduction strategies available. Additional tax advantages can be taken in the form of depreciation if real estate is held for investment purposes, and this is an investment strategy my accountant consistently recommends. 
I currently own a number of real estate properties in the Mad River Valley and those assets constitute a significant portion of my investment portfolio. While many folks are in desperate situations as a result of either real estate ownership in other parts of the country and/or poorly performing stock market investments, I take great comfort in knowing Mad River Valley real estate values have been and I expect will continue to be the most stable portion of my investment portfolio.

Dion lives in Waitsfield.


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