The Berkshire County Board of Realtors tracks activity in the residential, condominium, multi-family, land and commercial markets in Berkshire County. With historical real estate sales data for 22 years, it is interesting to note that the total number of real estate sales throughout Berkshire County in the first three quarter of 2018 reflects a fourteen-year high. Since our market low in 2009, the number of sales overall has continued to rise each year. The areas of the largest growth, when comparing this year with the first three quarters of 2017, were in commercial sales (up 24%), land sales (up 16%) and condo sales (up 14%). Multifamily markets showed a slight decrease of 3% overall.
For the first 9 months of 2018, residential home sales rose 2% countywide, with 1,017 homes sold worth $289.7 million dollars. The biggest market gain in the residential market was reported in northern Berkshire of 11%. Northern Berkshire has our smallest market in the region, but with $43.8 million dollars in sales and 203 transactions, they are an important part of the marketplace. While the number of homes on market was lower than years previous, the homes for sale in northern Berkshire were offered in the most popular selling ranges. Contrast that with the market in southern Berkshire, where single family residential sales slipped 8% down to 341 transactions worth $144 million dollars, after 2 years of double-digit growth. 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. Inventory pressures have driven the average selling prices up in all markets. In central Berkshire, the largest real estate market for residential homes, there was a healthy increase to 473 sales worth $101.9 million dollars.
The Berkshire County Board of Realtors has been tracking sales for over 20 years and this is the first time we have recorded more than 1,000 sales year to date by the third quarter. In 2004, we were close with 999 sales.
Showing dramatic gains over last year, condo sales rose 14% in total number of units sold, and 65% in the dollar volume transacted. All regions of the county showed double digit appreciation compared to last year, with the south county condo market booming. This also reflects a countywide record high in condo sales. Condos sales lagged for many years recovering from the low of 2009, so growth in this market is welcome to satisfy buyer demand in price ranges where single family residential home lack inventory.
Overall, multifamily sales rates that had been rising in the past three years slowed this year, with decreases in northern and central Berkshire, the largest multi markets in the region. That said, Southern Berkshire didn’t realize the same surge of multifamily sales in the past several years, but are now enjoying strong gains year-to-date. The residential, multi-family and condo markets all are intermixed in satisfying buyer demand. When inventory is tight in residential, we see rising interest and purchase of condo or multi-family units for example.
LAND REAL ESTATE REPORT
Land sales continue to rise over sales reported in the several previous years. Historically, 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 94 parcels sold this year represents a significant 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 a good sign for our market. Also, with residential inventory retracting, perhaps a spurt of building may begin and land sales increase to accommodate the demand.
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE REPORT
Realtor-assisted commercial sales showed steady improvement in the first three quarters of the year in 2018, compared to sales from past years. With 46 transactions valued at over $20 million, the market was strong. Northern and Central Berkshire reported mixed result in the market – more sales but lower prices (north) or fewer sales but higher prices (central). Alternatively, Southern Berkshire recorded huge increase in both average sale prices and the number of total transactions. Excellent news. Please note: Not all Berkshire REALTOR assisted commercial sales are included in the MLS database.