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HOUSING

R.I. home sales jump 25% in March

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WARWICK – Rhode Island single-family home sales jumped 25 percent in March compared with the same period in 2011, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

There were 611 homes sold in March, up from 490 in March of 2011, representing the ninth straight month of year-over-year sales gains dating back to last July.

While sales continued to rise, the median sale price in March dropped 6 percent from last March to $175,000. The median home price rose $5,000 from February in what was the first monthly increase since February of 2011.

Along with total sales, distressed sales also increased in March, rising 16 percent from March 2011 and helping to drive the year-over-year price decline.

"It appears that buyers are scooping up good deals in the marketplace. I think they're finally starting to think that they're seeing the bottom of the market," said Jamie Moore, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

The supply of single-family homes fell 4 percent in March for the first time since February 2011, which the Realtors Association described as a positive sign.

In other areas of the market, multifamily sales increased 2 percent in March compared with the same period last year with the median price rising six percent to $126,950.

“"People have been picking up bargains in the multi-family market but we would like to see even more of an increase in sales,” Moore said. “Some of the cities and towns like Central Falls, Woonsocket and Providence, are having significant fiscal problems which seems to be working against sales, even with the exceptional affordability conditions right now.”

It was not a good month in the condominium market as sales dropped 5 percent year over year while the median price dropped 20 percent to $128,750.

"We've seen condo sales struggle as single family and multi-family have become more affordable options," said Moore. "Also, developers have turned units for sales into rentals, which depletes the inventory for sale," Moore said.

Real estate, rhode island, business, warwick, homes, economy, businesses, rhode island

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