Sunday, August 31, 2003

This is somewhat worrisome:

In southern Berkshire County, [Massachusetts,] where second-home purchases comprise as much as 80 percent of sales, the average price for a single-family home fell to $256,507 in the second quarter of this year, down from $344,386 in the first quarter -- a 25 percent drop. In addition, days on market increased by 15 percent to 225 days from April through June, up from 196 days in January through March.

--Boston Globe yesterday

The Globe reports this cheerily, saying, in effect, "Hey, you can get a bargain on a posh weekend home near Tanglewood." The Globe also notes that the vacation-home market in the other hot spot in Massachusetts, Cape Cod, is still going great guns. Still, a 25% drop in one quarter is a big drop. I wonder if this is an early slow leak in the housing bubble. People from New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts buy weekend houses in the Berkshires, and I haven't heard that employment among white-collar professionals in the region is noticeably worse than anywhere else. So what's up? Is this a bad sign? Are any other regions and economic strata going through something similar?

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