RIAR Releases First Quarter Home Sales Statistics

Warwick, RI – The uptick in median sales price of single family homes that began late last year continues according to first quarter sales statistics released today by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. This year’s median price of $185,000 was seven percent higher than the median price reported in the first quarter of 2012. Sales activity remained stable, increasing .5 percent. The distressed market continued to shrink with the percentage of foreclosure and short sales falling from 34 percent of all single family home sales from January to March of 2012 to under 27 percent during the same months this year.

The condominium market also fared well with median price up significantly to $185,000 from $135,000 last year, and sales activity increasing 38 percent. Foreclosure and short sales are also declining, falling to 22 percent of all condo sales in the first quarter from 35 percent from January to March, 2012.

“It’s a relief to see that the housing market appears finally grounded and is providing a sense of optimism for both buyers and sellers. Buyers are still able to tap into fantastic interest rates and affordable prices and those wishing to sell are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel as prices continue to rise,” commented Victoria Doran, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors (RIAR).

A decrease in median price and sales activity in the multi-family market, contrasted with the trends of the single family and condominium markets. The first quarter median price declined four percent and sales activity decreased ten percent. Distressed sales fell from 55 percent of total sales in the multi-family market last year to 47 percent this year, contributing to the slowdown in sales activity. It appears that the buying frenzy of the investor oriented multi -family market is winding down following the onslaught of bargain basement prices brought on by distressed sales in recent years.

While trends appear to be moving in the right direction overall, Doran cautions that the Rhode Island housing market is not yet through the recovery process. “Prices are rising which is great as that obviously helps to increase equity for underwater homeowners. Sellers should understand however, that while inventory is dropping, Rhode Island still has an abundance of properties for sale so realistic pricing is critically important.”

Unlike reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) which show less than a six-month supply of properties for sale nationwide, Rhode Island’s remaining inventory of properties for sale show an eight-month supply of single family and multi-family properties for sale in the first quarter, and a nearly one year supply of condominiums for sale. Six months is considered by industry professionals as the point at which the market is balanced between buyers and sellers. Rhode Island’s ranking among the states with the highest unemployment rate is likely the major reason that the state is trailing slightly behind the national housing market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in March but has fallen from 10.6 percent in March of 2012.

About the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®

The Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®, the largest trade organization in Rhode Island with approximately 4,300 members in nearly 750 offices, has been serving Rhode Islanders since 1948. Advocating for Rhode Island ‘s property owners, the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property.

Last year, Rhode Island REALTORS® were involved in over 11,000 real estate transactions with a total sales volume of $2.5 billion. The Association is one of more than 1,437 local boards and associations that comprise the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America ‘s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries and who subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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