Updated March 24 at 3:24pm

Home sales rise, prices fall in 3Q


WARWICK - Sales of Rhode Island single-family homes rose 15 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, with 2,235 single-family homes sold during the quarter, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors said Monday.

The median price of homes fell 3 percent from the third quarter of 2011.

Within Rhode Island, 17 cities and towns saw increases in median price in the third quarter, with 10 towns reporting increases in both sales and price.

The median price of all single-family homes sold in the third quarter was $197,500, including distressed sales; it was $230,000 excluding distressed sales.

The state’s distressed sales, those involving foreclosure or short sale, dropped to 23 percent of total sales from 25 percent of total sales last year.

“It is noted that the lack of closed sales in a particular neighborhood has sometimes made it difficult to find value to support a sales price negotiated between a buyer and seller. This ends up lowering the final purchase price in some cases. Fortunately, we have a strong number of arm’s length sales as pending inventory that will ultimately become the benchmark,” Jaime Moore, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, said in prepared remarks.

“We still have a bit more active inventory than we would like, which also restrains price gains. The good news is that the supply of homes for sale has continued to decrease over the past several months, which is generally followed by rising prices,” said Moore.

Multi-family home sales in Rhode Island increased 6 percent during the third quarter, while the median price declined nearly 4 percent to $120,600, including distressed sales. Distressed sales have decreased from 54 percent to 47 percent year over year in the third quarter.

Condominium sales held relatively steady, increasing 0.95 percent over the quarter. Median sales price dropped 6 percent to $186,900, including distressed sales. Foreclosures and short sales fell to 20 percent of total sales from 21 percent last year.

For 15 consecutive months, historically low interest rates and low prices have driven sales upward. The National Association of Realtors predicts that housing affordability conditions will remain favorable through 2013, with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages staying near record lows during the first half of the year but rising gradually to 4 percent during the second half of 2013.

“Although the elections can create uncertainty in the market, sales have not slowed down. Home sales and housing starts are up and local economists are reporting that things are looking better,” said Moore. “This all bodes well for the housing market as we move toward 2013.”


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