The Berkshire County Board of REALTORS MarketWatch report for June 2020 tracks four key trend points to gauge the residential real estate market; (1) the number of homes on the market, (2) the number of sales transacted, (3) the dollar volume of residential sales, and (4) the number of pending sales going in to July.
Residential Home Inventory
Countywide our inventory is down significantly compared to the same time last year, 42% less homes were on the market as of the end of June compared to 2019. Our inventory absorption rate is down to 6 months of inventory countywide for single-family residential homes. This lack of residential inventory in Berkshire County creates a sellers’ market in the popular price ranges and locations. For perspective, at the end of June 2020, there were 526 homes on the market; June 2019 there were 905 homes on the market; and June 2018 there were 826 homes on the market.
It has been noted by local brokers that demand is extremely high due to a confluence of issues, namely the pent up surge in the real estate market when the state began phased reopening, a lack of inventory as sellers held off putting their home on the market in March and April, and high demand from both local residents and our neighbors in Metropolitan areas seeking homeownership in the region.
Residential Number of Sales
Residential sales in the month of June 2020 were almost identical to those in the previous year. with 122 transactions, the market regulated after two months of COVID shut down. Year-to-date the number of sales was only 5% lower than 2019, with 527 sales countywide at this halfway point in the year. This is significant given the fact that much of the market was slow to stopped during March and April to address safety issues.
Residential Dollar Volume
With a lack of inventory and sales demand high, we see the dollar volume transacted rise as a result of these factors. In June, closed residential sales volume topped $43 million countywide which is a 14% increase over 2019. Close sales volume year-to-date January through June is $161 million in residential sales which is a 3% increase over that same time in 2019. This rising dollar volume is reflected in the rising median home sales price, which has risen to $215,762 county wide, a 2% increase.
Residential Pending Sales
At the end of June 2020, we had 360 pending home sales recorded in our MLS, a jump of 61% compared to 2019. This will exhaust our inventory and require an infusion of new homes coming on the market to maintain the steady sales rates we have experienced.
South County Residential Highlights
South County inventory levels dropped, as did the rest of the county and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With only 299 homes for sale at the end of June 2020, that is a 35% decrease over June 2019, when there were 457 homes for sale in the southern Berkshire marketplace. South County has 11 months of inventory which represents a mixed market, depending upon the price range and the location of the home. The median sale price in the southern Berkshire region rose 3.5% to $331,536.
Close sales in June rose almost 6% compared to the previous year with 37 homes sold in June . Year-to-date sales increased 2.4% with 168 homes transacted so far this year. Closed sales volume also rose 30% in June 2020 to $19 million dollars, up 12% to $78 million dollars year-to-date.
Pending sales recorded in June of 2020 surged 117%, up to 150 homes currently listed under agreement compared to 69 homes last year.
Central Berkshire Residential Highlights
Central county single family home inventory had a significant impact on a robust rebound from the beginning of the second quarter. With less than four months of inventory available, home sales in popular price ranges transacted very quickly, and median sales prices are driving upward. Year-to-date median sale prices rose 7.6% and in June rose almost 15% to $235,500. A lack of inventory in popular price ranges has been an issue for the central Berkshire marketplace for the last several years, yet the region usually offered over 100 homes on the market at any given time in June. This year there are only 88 homes on the market to sell.
Lack of inventory has impacted the number of sales, down to 58 in June 2020 compared to 64 the previous year. Year-to-date sales are down 13% and the volume transacted is down almost 4% to $62 million dollars in central Berkshire. The high demand combined with the lack of inventory in price ranges for our workforce, has made this market a challenge for buyers.
As we finish out June, pending sales in central Berkshire are up 19% to 99 homes currently listed under contract, which bodes well for a strong July – but is unsustainable if inventory remains at such low levels
Much like the central Berkshire market, northern Berkshire is also suffering from an extreme lack of homes on the market, with a 52% decrease over the same period last year. North Berkshire had 43 homes on the market at the end of June 2020, compared to 60 homes on the market the previous year. The months of inventory in northern Berkshire has also dropped to 4%, driving it into a sellers’ market in the popular price ranges and areas. This lack of inventory can continue to affect the recovery after COVID restrictions are eased.
Closed sales in northern Berkshire are up 16% and the number of residential homes sold to 36 homes and 128 homes so far this year. The closed sale volume has leveled out year-to-date from last year with $26 million dollars transacted. Median sales prices in the northern Berkshire declined, unlike rest of the County, down to $161,537.
Northern Berkshire data reflects 80 pending home sales at the end of June which is a significant increase over last year, 67% or compared to 48 pending sales last year.
Overall, the market has rebounded from the March and April decreases when Realtors were only processing urgent real estate transactions. There are many factors that will come into play in the coming months to determine if the Berkshire real estate marketplace will have the number of homes for sale needed to satisfy the demand. As such, we have transitioned to offer monthly reports that track and compare data monthly so that we can understand the short-term trends as our state continues to address our community’s response to COVID-19. Please see the three attached reports for more details on the market.