COVID-19 has impacted the Berkshires in many ways, one of which is in home sales. After a lower than the average number of completed sales in the first few months of COVID, sales have rebounded, and homes have sold at a faster rate than in previous years.
Through October, Berkshire County has recorded 1,379 single-family home sales, close to 200 more than the same period in 2019, a growth of 17%. This number of sales is now above the pre-recession 2007 numbers (Figure 1).
The growth is not uniform throughout the county, with some municipalities experiencing growth and some experiencing reductions (Figure 2). Communities in the southern part of the county are experiencing an average 62% increase in sales, while communities in the northern part of the county are experiencing a 9% increase in sales. Massachusetts, meanwhile, is seeing a decrease of 4% in single-family home sales. There are currently just over 1,000 single-family properties for sale throughout Berkshire County, so the number of sales will continue to go up through the end of the year. The total number of properties for sale or sold has declined from 2,805 in 2019 to 2,437 in 2020, resulting in a tighter market.
In addition to the number sold, Berkshire County has seen a 17% increase in the median single-family home sales price compared to 2019, coming to $258,000. This price is an all-time high in Berkshire County and 23% higher than in 2007 before the recession hit (Figure 3). Massachusetts has seen an increase in the sales price of 10%. As with the number of sales, the sales price distribution throughout the county is not even. Communities in the county’s southern part are experiencing an average 24% increase in the sales price. The communities in the northern part of the county are experiencing an average 17% increase in sales price. Sales prices were already variable throughout the county, with the median price in Florida at $98,000 compared to Tyringham’s median sales price at $1,100,000. Much of the increase in sales price may be due to the reduced inventory the region is experiencing.
COVID-19 has created a seller’s market in Berkshire County, specifically south county, but there are locations where single-family homes have not seen an increase in sales or sales price. While the rise in prices is good for sellers, it creates a situation where many locals will have problems affording new homes. Home sales will continue to increase over several months due to COVID-19, but it is uncertain if this will result in long term changes to the housing market post pandemic.
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