The real estate market in Berkeley Springs and Morgan County, West Virginia is heating up.
Usually at this time of year, real estate agents would see 100 to 120 listings for houses in Morgan County.
Today, it’s down to 57 – with 37 of them going for more than $200,000.
A house that was selling for $200,000 a year ago today is going for closer to $250,000 today.
The reason for the supercharged market?
The COVID-19 pandemic.
Increasingly, local residents are seeing New York and New Jersey plates driving the back roads of Morgan County.
People in COVID-19 hot spots like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and metropolitan Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are coming to the “not hot spot” (only 26 confirmed COVID-19 cases with zero deaths) that is Morgan County for second homes.
And in some cases, they’re getting out of the urban areas altogether and fleeing to West Virginia.
“We are still getting people from other states looking for second homes,” said Teresa Seville, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. “But recently I’ve heard people comment – we are getting out of the city.”
“We’re getting people coming from New York and New Jersey. It’s not just the Baltimore and northern Virginia areas anymore. There are people coming from the states that have been hit pretty hard and they just want to get out of Dodge. Taxes are going up in New Jersey and COVID is so bad that they just want out.”
Why would someone in New York and New Jersey pick Morgan County, West Virginia?
“That’s a good question,” Seville said. “But we are seeing New York plates a lot.”
But even though the Morgan County real estate market is hot, it’s hotter in neighboring Berkeley County.
“Berkeley County is over the top,” Seville said. “Just talking with my fellow agents in Berkeley County – they are going in against three to 15 offers. One gal said she was going in against 14 other offers.”
“And while we have multiple offers here in Morgan County, it’s not like Berkeley County. We might have two or three additional offers that we are up against. I guess the shortage of listings is driving the multiple offers.”
Sabrena Funk of Kesecker Realty says that pre-pandemic, “we were already in a good market, in a busy market.”
“When COVID hit and the shutdown came, I figured – okay, this is going to be a rough one and that business would stop,” Funk said. “However, because real estate in West Virginia was considered essential, we were allowed to still work – but we had to take precautions.”
“And people were saying – the rates are low, my job is not affected and I want to buy something because I don’t know what’s going to happen. And then in May, things began to start opening up. And that’s when we saw things starting to snowball and properties began to sell, sell, sell.”
Funk also says that Berkeley County is a different matter.
“I’ve been trying to help some clients down there and we put in offers on four properties and we have missed out on every one,” Funk said. “And we were offering full price or above and we are still not getting them.”