Berkshire real estate sales surged in 2021, and the market continues to slow from the frenetic pace during COVID, in all regions and property types. While the market is surely slower than last year, the number of sales and the dollar volume transacted are at extremely high levels, when looking back over the past several years. With 1,489 overall sales in the county so far this year, that level of activity is only slower than the last two years and far outperforms previous years. The central residential market is the strongest of all sectors, while condo sales soared in north county but fell in southern Berkshire. Multi-family sales in north and central Berkshire retracted slightly, while multifamily sales fell in southern Berkshire. Inventory continues to be a challenge countywide. Link to detailed Market Watch report for 3rd Quarter Sales in Berkshire County.
Overall, Residential and multi-family sales fell 10%, but pockets of strong and fast sales exist in some parts of the county and at some price points. Now more than ever, it is important to understand exactly what markets are popular and still moving quickly while adjusting for buyer caution and interest. Condominium sales fell 18%, multifamily sales fell 10% and commercial sales dipped by 4%. Land sales in southern Berkshire halted the fast pace of the previous year.
Strongest Markets in the County
Overall the residential market declined by 10% over last year, but dollar volume was only down by 5%. Strong sales in Pittsfield and outlying towns in the north and south helped cushion the market. Consider that the dollar volume transacted rose in Pittsfield by more than $16 million dollars for a gain of 21%. In the north, Clarksburg, Florida and savoy recorded gains. Besides Pittsfield, Hancock, Hinsdale, Peru, Richmond, Washington And Windsor had very stable sales. Alford, Becket, Egremont, Mt. Washington, Sandisfield and Tyringham sales pace bolstered the south county market, while Lee and Lenox, struggled the most.
Residential Report: sales down 10%, dollar volume down 5%
Overall, the number of home sales from January to September of 2022 decreased 10% over the previous year. From 1,102 to 994. North County sales started robust but fell in the 3rd quarter, with a decrease of 16% so far this year. Central Berkshire has experienced the most mild decrease, with a 3% retraction in the number of sales but a jump of 12% in the total dollar volume transacted. In southern Berkshire, there are now double digit decreases in both the number and dollar volume of homes sales compared to last year. As pointed out previously, the huge overall influx of money into the residential housing market over the last two years has been significant.
Condo Report: sales down 18%, dollar volume down 20%
Condominium sales in south county slowed considerably in 2022 compared to 2021 sales rates in Southern Berkshire. North Berkshire trends were the opposite, with double digit gains in both the number of units sold and the dollar volume transacted in the condo market. In Central Berkshire, condo sales slowed slightly, down 7 units, but dollar volume soared 26% over the previous year and a 40% increase in the average condo sale price per unit. Despite an overall decrease countywide, condo sales are robust when looking at the historical sales rates and volume.
Multifamily Report: sales down 10%, dollar volume up 6%
Overall, multifamily sales dipped slightly with a market slowdown impacting the countywide averages. North and central region sales were slightly down, but sale prices continued to rise, with double digit gains in the dollar volume of transactions. Both regions had major growth last year as well. Central Berkshire has the most multifamily units and the sales rates are stable. The South County multifamily market so far this year has retracted back to rates prior to 2020.
Land Report: sales down 34%, dollar volume down 52%
Land sales in 2021 were hard to beat, with surging sales in all parts of the county. This year, we see a large retraction of sales countywide, but still very strong when looking at years past. A note that central county parcel sales rose by 15% with over 55 tracts sold so far this year. With building costs an unknown going forward, it is important to maintain a close eye on permits and building opportunities to help alleviate pent-up buyer demand for existing homes in popular price points. It remains incredibly hard to build needed workforce priced housing with current costs and codes.
Commercial Report: down 4%, dollar volume down 24%
Despite a commercial market heavily impacted by work-from-home and business closures, commercial sales rose last year and yet started to fall this year. Central Berkshire reported double digit gains in the number of sales and the dollar volume of those transactions. North and South county saw declining commercial sales as reported to the MLS, yet not significantly different than historical averages.
While rising mortgage interest rates are pushing down demand as the Fed had hoped, many buyers see this shift as an opportunity to enter the housing market with a bit of leverage. Contract negotiations resume in a more balanced market and appraisers and home inspectors are carefully analyzing the home’s long-term stability and value. Despite demand slowing, there’s still a shortage of available homes that makes some properties popular and competitive for interested buyers. In September, there were 614 homes on the market for sale in Berkshire County, compared to 1,759 ten years ago, a 35% decrease. Since 2013, the inventory of homes for sale has continued to fall. The many factors contributing to a decline in inventory include low building rates in our area, a larger population of citizens desiring homeownership, a shortage of optimal living options for active elderly, and investment in real estate has proven to be a sound strategy for long term wealth.
Buyers should maintain updated preapproval letters from their lender to make sure their price range remains accurate with the latest rates. Now is also an important time to make sure you are aware of the new programs designed to improve the buyer’s position in the market despite these challenges. There are many options available to help citizens achieve their goals.