Williamstown MA real estate market July 2013. Berkshire Real Estate Agency and Market data for Williamstown MA. In ancient times being a messenger of bad news to your king could cost you your life. I have heard that weather forecasters today who bring news of impending severe weather always get an increase of hate mail, even threats. With this in mind I have sobering news from our Williamstown real estate market. Without real time information or clients are left wondering just why their particular property may be taking longer than others to sell or whether we have gone on an extended vacation.
If yours is one of the properties that hasn't sold as fast as you would have hoped/expected, here are some market stats and information that might help you understand the odds a Williamstown real estate home owner/seller today faces.
Prices are falling like the fall leaves in October. Those Berkshire home prices that are not dropping are not getting much action. We have to face the fact that the Northern Berkshire County real estate market is burdened with a very high number of listings and that only 20% of those will sell this year. Unless a property is truly an exceptional buy, the odds are lower that it will sell this year.
What is your personal view of the local real estate market and the local Williamstown economy overall? If you are of the opinion the current market is showing signs of recovery, then holding out for a few more years for the potential higher price makes perfect sense. If on the other hand you are less confident about the local economy and the nation's economy and the real estate market in general, then holding out more years for the optimum price could prove to be a mistake.
In spite of the national headlines and national TV news spots about an improving real estate market, we don't see those trends reflected here in Williamstown MA. The best improving markets the media focuses on include AZ, FL, TX, CA and cities like Boston and NY and Phoenix, the latter of which is up from off a very deep low.
I'm glad I don't own real estate in Detroit, Cleveland or upstate NY for example but truth be told, while not comparable to those troubled areas, we here have felt the same trends, just not as dramatically. Reading between the lines too, one discovers that a lot of the recent buying activity in the areas showing strong sales has been driven by foreclosures and buying by hedge funds (investment in rental properties) and flippers and not by the typical nuclear family or first time home buyers. The job market remains weak, salaries in decline and this inevitably negatively impacts the Northerm Berkshire County real estate sales and values by conventional purchasers.
Sales volume in the Williamstown MA real estate market year to date is running even with last year which saw a total of 51 single family home sales. There have been 27 closings year to date this year, there are 9 pending sales so if the same pace continues for the remainder of the year, out of a current inventory in the low 80's we ought to be able to expect only 15 more listings to go under contract and close this calendar year.
Baby boomers are shedding the extra homes or extra square footage in favor of simplifying their lives and downsizing. This trend is very evident here and all over. That is one of the reasons for the large number of larger homes on the market holding back the high end which is extremely slow. The lower end of the market is selling proportionately better.
Sales volume is down about 25% from the heady days of 2005 and prices are off about 25-30% from their peak in '07.
More properties and sellers competing for fewer and much more cautious buyers and by the economic law of supply and demand this inevitably leads to lower selling prices.
I've sold two properties just this summer alone at full price which went under contract with multiple offers within a matter of a few days of going on the market. They were obviously priced right. Pricing is king, everything in fact.
2013 will prove to be another challenging year for most sellers in this region, much like last year and much like what we expect to see again in 2014, 2015 and right up to the early 2020's. Why is this? Because of the monumental demographic tectonic shifts taking place. Baby boomers are retiring by the millions and even here in the Berkshires, the aging of the population is plainly evident and along with that shift comes the downsizing and exodus we have been watching impact our market. These are forces of nature and which cannot be stemmed, not even by the Fed with all its money printing.
Adjusting to these trends in the housing/demographic shifts and making the appropriate adjustments in price is the only way to move forward with one's life and plans. Pricing correctly and unemotionally from the start is absolutely the only way to maximize the return from the sale of your home.