R.I. home sales, prices rise in 3Q on fewer distressed transactions

Single-family home sales in Rhode Island rose 19 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, and the median sales price rose 10 percent, according to Rhode Island Association of Realtors data released Tuesday. More

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R.I. home sales, prices rise in 3Q on fewer distressed transactions

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/TY WRIGHT
THE RHODE ISLAND ASSOCIATION of Realtors reported Tuesday that single-family home sales in Rhode Island rose 19 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, and the median sales price rose 10 percent to $218,200. The Realtors group attributed the median price jump in large part to fewer foreclosure and short sales.
Posted 11/5/13

WARWICK – Single-family home sales in Rhode Island rose 19 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, and the median sales price rose 10 percent, according to Rhode Island Association of Realtors data released Tuesday.

The median third-quarter sales price rose to $218,200 from $197,500 the year prior, due in large part to a decline in financially distressed sales, the Realtors group said. Single-family foreclosure and short sales accounted for 17 percent of total sales in the third quarter, down from 23 percent of all sales in the third quarter of 2012. In West Greenwich, where the number of distressed sales dropped 33 percent, the median price for a single-family home rose nearly 70 percent.

In total, 2,670 single-family homes were sold in Rhode Island during the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with 2,244 during the same period a year earlier.

“It’s hard to predict what happens next,” said Rhode Island Association of Realtors President Victoria Doran in a statement. “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 shutdown could skew October statistics. But mortgage rates have been falling since September and that has kept buyers in the game.”

Condominium sales showed a marked turnaround over last year, the Realtors reported, with third-quarter sales activity rising 57 percent compared with last year. The median condominium sales price rose 7 percent to $199,450 from $185,950 in 2012.

A drop in the number of distressed condominium sales mirrored the decline in distressed sales of single-family homes. In the third quarter, distressed sales accounted for 15 percent of all condominium sales, down from 50 percent of total third-quarter sales in 2012. There were 502 condominiums sold in the third quarter, 56.9 percent more than the 320 sold in the third quarter last year.

“Up until this year, the condo market was lagging in the recovery,” said Doran. “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.”

The multifamily market also showed signs of a rebound in the third quarter, with sales activity up 6 percent. The median sales price rose 17 percent to $140,000 in the third quarter from $120,000 a year earlier.

While the number of foreclosure and short sales fell 26 percent in the third quarter, the distressed market remains most evident in the multifamily sector, the Realtors report said. Distressed sales accounted for 32 percent of all multifamily sales in the third quarter, compared with 46 percent in the third-quarter of 2012.

There were 367 multifamily properties sold in Rhode Island in the third quarter, an increase from 347 sales during the same period last year.

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