Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® News Release

WARWICK, RI – Rising interest rates seemed to spur sales in the third quarter.  Single family home sales statistics released by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors (RIAR) today show a 19 percent gain in sales activity from the same time last year. Median price also made substantial gains, up ten percent to $218,200, thanks in large part to a decline in financially distressed sales.  The number of single family foreclosure and short sales declined 13 percent in the third quarter and accounted for 17 percent of total sales, down from 23 percent in the third quarter of 2012.  Single family home median price rose as much as 70 percent in West Greenwich where the number of distressed sales dropped 33 percent.

The condominium market showed a marked turnaround, with sales activity rising 57 percent from third quarter, 2012 and median price rising seven percent to $199,450.  Of particular interest was a distressed market in which distressed sales fell from 50 percent of all sales in the third quarter of 2012 to 15 percent of total third quarter sales this year.

“Up until this year, the condo market was lagging in the recovery. Last year, many were in a short sale or foreclosure situation which really limited the number of sales.  Now we’re seeing the condo market bounce back in a big way,” said Victoria Doran, 2013 RIAR President.

The multi-family market also showed signs of rebound with sales activity up six percent and median price rising to $140,000, a seventeen percent increase.  The number of foreclosure and short sales fell 26 percent.  The distressed market remains most evident in the multi-family sector however, with 32 percent of all sales selling through foreclosure or short sale.  At its worst, distressed sales accounted for more than 80 percent of the multi-family market.

“It’s hard to predict what happens next,” said Doran. “Sales under contract but not yet closed were down in August and September, which would generally indicate that sales activity will begin to slow in the fourth quarter. Plus, ramifications of the government shut down could skew October statistics. But mortgage rates have been falling since September and that has kept buyers in the game.”

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