Updated May 29 at 5:29pm

Empty nesters flocking to condos

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Condominium sales are still soaring in the Ocean State, with the 55-and-older buyer a key catalyst, according to real estate brokers. More

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Real Estate

Empty nesters flocking to condos

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Condominium sales are still soaring in the Ocean State, with the 55-and-older buyer a key catalyst, according to real estate brokers.

Marion Thayer, 69, and her husband, Rob, 70, are in the process of selling their single-family home in North Kingstown for $525,000 and buying a $350,000 duplex condominium on one level at Slocum Heights, a complex under construction that is expected to house up to 27 new condominiums, she said. The Thayers’ new condominium will be ready in the fall. The couple has already moved out of the large brick home where they lived for seven years and is living temporarily with one of three sons.

Downsizing, minimizing maintenance obligations, traveling and spending more time with nine grandchildren are the key attraction to the new home, Marion Thayer said.

“My husband and I are very excited,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to a lot less work and more time to be able to go and do what we want to do.”

According to statistics released in July by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, sales of condominiums of all types this year have maintained a brisk pace after a soaring 60 percent increase in January. For the state, sales were up 35 percent in June over the previous year; nearly 28 percent for the second quarter and just shy of 32 percent for the first half of 2013.

But according to RIAR President Victoria Doran and former President Jamie Moore, today’s evolving condo market has strong appeal for empty nesters in particular, who “want the benefit of home ownership but not the obligation of a free-standing home.

“As we start getting less inventory in the first-time, single-family homebuyers market, activity shifts to the condo market because there are properties in that price range that may be more appealing,” Moore said. “And we are seeing some really high-end condos [selling].”

Some of the towns with rising condo sales for all types of condos over the past six months include South Kingstown, 41, an increase of 173 percent; Cumberland, 40, an increase of 60 percent; and East Providence, 64, a hike of nearly 83 percent, according to the association.

Karl Martone, a Realtor with the Martone Group at Re/MAX Properties in Smithfield, said he is currently working with more than a half dozen people considering moving or selling to buy condominiums. Martone is also a past president of RIAR.

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