1987 sales compared with 2012 sales in Berkshire County
The silver lining in the present Berkshire County real estate market is the trend we see in rising numbers of transactions leading sellers to believe optimistically that the bottom of the market has been reached. . Total closed sales in Williamstown through May this year were 19, up from 13 in the prior year. When put in percentage terms, 46% it sounds even more impressive but when we look back as far as 1987, we see there were 39 that year through May. In other words, through the last 25 years, sales have fallen a whopping 50%. We have a long way to go to recover. Sales hit their last peak in '04 at 29, still 25% off from the very top. County wide sales are up almost 15% over last year to 381. The top of the market for Berkshire County single family home sales was 2004 with 556 sales, just 4 sales higher than in 1987 at 552.
Realism in real estate prices in 2012
Median sales prices however have continued to trend downwards which no doubt is part of the story about rising sales numbers, along with lower interest rates. Median selling prices have fallen county wide over 4 of the past 5 years down to $155,000. Prices peaked in 2007 in the county at $205,500. In Williamstown, one of the harder hit towns in terms of volume prices have fallen but from a loftier level. The median prices actually reached the top in 2009 at $360,000. There were only 13 sales that year, year to date. The median is now $250,000 almost 30% off the peak which reflects the national averages.
I spoke with a woman who had scanned over 60 homes before picking one to buy in Florida. We have a relatively wide selection of homes to choose from in any price range but as more buyers realize these perfect conditions are not likely to last much longer, things will change again, as they always do. Rates may creep up, inventory will decrease and sellers will then be less flexible. I spoke with another person who with his wife grabbed a fabulous deal on the Cape just recently, again after scanning a really broad selection of homes. The early bird definitely gets the best worm.We remain firmly in a buyer's market in Berkshire County
The buyer today that goes to contract is the one who recognizes the remarkable convergence of beneficial elements favoring them over the average seller and over many years in the past; low rates, low prices, and an exceptionally large selection of homes.
We have collected severeal quick video's from various real estate news online services and finished the group with Zillow's latest published interactive tool which provides percentage estimates of homes in towns, counties and states with "negative equity" throughout America. Click on the Zillow Negative Equity Map to see Berkshire County's numbers. Click here to go to the site to look at other states, counties and towns in the US.
Links to AOL Real Estate video, CNN Real Estate video, The People's Forum video, Bloomberg's Real Estate video, and CBS evening news comments on real estate in America now.
The People's Forum "how much money has been lost in home value since the 2008 election"
"Threat of downturn even further in home prices" Bloomberg's
CBS Evening News "Housing Crisis- Prices are going to fall more."