Home Sweet Berkshire Country Homes
Despite economic challenges over the past year, consumers continue to invest in Berkshire and Southern Vermont second home properties. Many Americans purchase second homes either as vacation retreats or investment properties. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2010 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, vacation-home sales rose 7.9 percent to 553,000 last year (2009), up from 513,000 in 2008.
Prices also rose. The median price of a vacation home was $169,000 in 2009, compared with $150,000 in 2008. Paul Harsch (Broker and President) of Harsch Associates Berkshire Real Estate says "Berkshire second home purchases are typically influenced by lifestyle or financial considerations. Clients who shop the real estate offerings in the Berkshires are typically well educated and looking for both cultural activities and recreational activities within a few minutes of their second home."
Consumers continue to appreciate the value of homeownership - so much that many of them own second homes, either as vacation retreats or investment properties. In addition, many second-home buyers want to diversify their financial portfolios.
There are approximately 7.9 million vacation homes and 41.1 million investment properties in the U.S. compared with 75.0 million owner-occupied homes. Vacation homes are in every state, with the most popular locations by the water or in the mountains.
Berkshire County in Western MA and Southern Vermont offer many of these highly desirable locations in abundance. Vacation-home owners prefer close proximity to areas where they spend recreational time or to natural attractions such as National Parks, rivers and lakes. Berkshire County and Southern Vermont are known for their premier snow skiing resorts, hiking trails, cultural attractions, educational institutions, rafting and white water rafting, biking trails, canoing, motor boating lakes and many other recreational activities.
Half of the vacation homes purchased in 2009 were in the South with about 13% being in the North East including the New England States.
The typical Berkshire vacation-home buyer in 2009 is 46 years old, earns a median household income of $87,500 and purchases a Berkshire property that is on a two-three hour drive from his or her primary home; about one-third of vacation homes purchased were within 100 miles of the primary residence.
Investment homes sales accounted for 17 percent of the overall market in 2009, down from 21 percent in 2008. The median investment home sold for $105,000 in 2009, which is 2.8 percent below 2008. Most investors purchased a home that was fairly close to their primary residence - about 24 miles. These investment homes most often are rental properties used for income and depreciation.
Demand for second homes will likely increase over the next decade . About 40.1 million people in the U.S. are ages 50-59, which are some of the prime years for buying a second home. If you're thinking about buying a vacation home in the Berkshires our Harsch Associates Berkshires Realtors® live and work here. We can provide you with valuable insight into the Berkshire County and Southern Vermont second home market.
Source: National Associates of Realtors®