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Real Estate Market Perspectives

2019 Third Quarter Real Estate Market Report

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By Friday, Oct 18, 2019 , More In Real Estate
MARKET SUMMARY- January to September, 2019 Sales Comparison

There was a total of approximately $370 million dollars in real estate sales throughout Berkshire County in the first three quarters of 2019, the highest on record since we’ve been tracking.  The number of residential sales also peaked at an all-time high of 1,028 homes sold so far this year.  Since the market low in 2009, the number of sales has continued to improve each year. Multifamily home sales also continued to grow over previous years, up to $19 million dollars in 133 units sold in the first nine months of 2019.  Condo sales remained strong, despite a dip in dollar volume after an extraordinary year in 2018.  Land sales have lagged so far this year, down to 2016 rates. The commercial market is stable, also after a banner year in 2018 (note: not all REALTOR-assisted commercial transactions are recorded in our data). Overall, sales are strong and buyer demand is high, but the inventory of homes available for sale remains the challenge in the market.

In northern Berkshire, residential and condo sales dipped with a strong multifamily market. In the central area, residential and condo sales showed solid growth from last year at the same time. In southern Berkshire, the single-family residential market was down slightly, and multifamily and condo sales retracted from last year’s exceptionally high sales. Otherwise, the sales pace is on target,

Historically, Pittsfield residential sales represent 30% of the Berkshire market.  The Pittsfield residential market has been significantly improving over the past several years, leading to almost no inventory below $300,000 for workforce housing.

  • Strongest Residential Markets YTD:  Alford, Dalton, Hinsdale, Lenox, Pittsfield, Tyringham and Windsor.
  • Strong markets with modest growth so far this year:  Adams, New Ashford, Peru, Windsor, Lee, and New Marlborough. 
RESIDENTIAL SALES OVERVIEW

For the first 9 months of 2019, residential home sales rose a modest 1% countywide, with the biggest gain of 7% in central Berkshire. This was due to the robust residential housing market in Pittsfield – also the market suffering the greatest impact of low inventory in popular price ranges.  After double digit gains last year at this time, the northern Berkshire market has retracted – still above 2017 sales rates but not able to meet the apex of last year’s boom.  Single family residential sales slipped 1% in southern Berkshire, and 8% last year, after back-to-back years of 12% growth in 2016 and 2017. Most of the inventory on the market in south county is for $500,000+, while the most sales activity and buyer interest are well below that mark.

MULTI-FAMILY SALES OVERVIEW

Overall, multifamily sales rates are strong countywide, with double digit appreciation in the number of sales and the total dollar volume transacted. So far this year, almost $19 million in sales was transacted in the sale of 133 units countywide.  Southern Berkshire had a surge last year at this time, but sales continue to keep pace with the previous years, surpassing most. The residential, multi-family and condo markets, and to some extent the land market, all are intermixed with each other and are often impacted by buyer demand that can’t be satisfied in other property types.  When inventory is tight in residential, we see rising interest and purchase of condo or multi-family units, for example. Central Berkshire recorded a thriving multi market with a 56% increase in the dollar volume of sales.

CONDO SALES OVERVIEW

Last year at this time, condo sales showed dramatic gains over 2017, with an increase of 15% in total number of units sold, and 66% in the dollar volume transacted.  This year, the total number of condo transactions continues to rise, while there was a 15% retraction on the dollar volume.  Historically, we can see that the large surge in 2018 could not be realistically maintained. The central Berkshire market is the only region in the Berkshires that continues to grow at a fast pace.  Condos sales lagged for many years recovering from the market low of 2009, so growth is helping to satisfy buyer demand in price ranges where single family residential home lack inventory.

LAND SALES OVERVIEW

Land sales fell when compared to last year and are significantly down from historic highs.   The peak of our land sales was in the mid 2000’s with an average 3rd quarter transaction rate of over 100 parcels, and as high as 193 sales in 2004.  Our current 65 parcels sold this year represent an improvement in the last 10 years, when sales of raw land dropped in 2007, to the all-time low in 2009 (36 sales).   This continued momentum is needed for our market. Also, with residential inventory retracting, perhaps a spurt of building may begin and land sales will increase to accommodate the demand.

COMMERCIAL SALES OVERVIEW

REALTOR-assisted commercial sales, while small in number, fell in the first three quarters of the year in 2019, compared to sales from past years.  With 36 transactions valued at over $13 million, the market has room for growth.  Commercial transactions in southern Berkshire jumped in 2018.  While the number of transactions fell from that high rate, the sales rate is still outpacing previous years.  Please note: Not all REALTOR assisted commercial sales in the Berkshires are included in the MLS database.

A copy of the full report is available here.


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