Up again in 2013, Berkshire home sales more ‘normalized'


PITTSFIELD -- Realtor-assisted sales of single-family homes in Berkshire County increased in 2013, although not as dramatically as in 2012, according to figures compiled by the Berkshire County Board of Realtors.

Buoyed by a second consecutive double-digit increase in South County, the sales of single-family homes rose 5.7 percent, while the dollar volume increased by 6.1 percent.

Overall, Realtor-assisted Berkshire County transactions jumped 9.3 percent in 2013, with sales totaling $356 million, the highest since 2007. The Berkshire County Board of Realtors only tracks Realtor-assisted transactions.

The increase in single-family home sales was far below the 25.4 percent registered in 2012, as only 59 more units were sold throughout the county in 2013, according to the board's figures.

Total sales of single-family homes in the county were $282.3 million, slightly more than the $266 million registered in 2012. Sales increased by 12.8 percent in South County, and by 2.7 percent in Central Berkshire, but dropped by 9.5 percent in North County.

"I think any momentum is a good one," said Board of Realtors CEO Sandra J. Carroll, comparing the increases for 2012 and 2013.

"It was a big bump when the economy went up, and we can't sustain that," she said, referring to the 25 percent jump in 2012. "This is more normalized."

Overall, total sales in South County jumped 20.8 percent in dollar volume and 15 percent in number sold. In Central Berkshire total sales increased 7.8 percent in dollar volume and 9.5 percent in number sold. Total sales in North County dropped by less than 1 percent, but the dollar volume decreased by 4.25 percent.

The sales of condominiums, multifamily homes, lots or land, commercial properties and mobile homes also are included in the total figures. Countywide, those six categories all experienced double-digit increases in 2013 led by lot/land sales, which skyrocketed 93 percent from 2012, and condominium sales which jumped 58 percent.

"The single-family homes didn't quite realize the rate that condominiums rose or the lots and land," Carroll said. "But residential sales account for so much of our volume that a 6 percent increase dominates."

Of the 1,445 Realtor-assisted property transactions handled by the Board of Realtors last year, 1,083 involved single-family homes.

In South County, the total number of real estate transactions increased by 69 to 525 in 2013, following a jump of 54 in 2012. The sales of single family homes rose by 25 to 393, an increase of 6.8 percent, while the total number of dollars transacted jumped by 12.8 percent to $156.2 million. Land sales jumped 107 percent, after dropping by 35 percent in 2012.

Karen Climo of William Pitt-Sotheby Real Estate in Great Barrington, the board's MLS president, said South County sales are driven by the second-home market.

"My sense is with the election over, and jobs in the city, and city folks having a little more security about purchasing, we've seen a ton of traffic in the last year," Climo said.

In Central Berkshire, total sales increased by 58 to 626, while sales of single-family homes jumped by 50, from 449 to 499, an 11.1 percent increase. The total dollar amount rose 2.7 percent to $91.87 million. The annual sales of single-family homes in Central Berkshire had decreased each year from 2008 to 2011 before rising 21.3 percent in 2012.

In North County total sales were virtually the same as last year, dropping from 279 to 278, but the total dollar amount dropped by 4.3 percent to $43.6 million. Sales of single family homes fell from 207 to 191 in 2013, a decrease of 7.7 percent, which followed a 29.4 percent increase in 2012.

However, the sales of multifamily homes in North Berkshire increased by 58 percent in 2013, from 24 to 38.

"Although sales of single-family homes did suffer, the sales for multifamily homes rose so much that you could almost see the markets shift," Carroll said.

Sales of single-family homes in the $1 million-to-$2 million price range increased by 100 percent in 2013, from 8 to 16.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:


(413) 496-6224

Real estate snapshot

Berkshire County real estate for 2013

Total sales: 1,445

Residential (single-family): 1,083

Condominium: 110

Multifamily: 100

Lots/land: 92

Commercial: 32

Mobile homes: 28.

Total dollar volume: $356 million (highest since 2007).

Increase in total sales: 9.3 percent.

Increase in total dollar volume: 12.8 percent.

Sales of single family homes by municipality

Five largest increases from 2012

(minimum 12 sales)

1. Monterey: 77.8 percent

2. Cheshire: 36.8 percent

3. Stockbridge: 34.38 percent

4. West Stockbridge: 30.7 percent

5. Sheffield: 20 percent.

Others: Pittsfield: 11.67 percent; North Adams: minus 13.7 percent.

Source: Berkshire County Board of Realtors


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