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real estate

R.I. home sales, prices tick up in 1Q

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WARWICK – Rhode Island’s single-family home sales rose slightly – 0.5 percent – during the first quarter of 2013, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Despite the first quarter of the year, 1,515 homes were in Rhode Island, a 0.5 percent increase from the 1,508 sold during the first quarter of 2012.

According to the realtors’ association, home prices rose 6.9 percent during the quarter to a median price $185,000.

“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,” Victoria Doran, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “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.”

Condominium sales soared 38 percent during the first quarter, with 283 condos sold in Rhode Island at a median price of $185,000. The median sale price of Rhode Island condos rose 37 percent compared with the same quarter in 2011.

Contrasting both the single-family home and condominium markets, the multifamily home market saw declines in both sales activity, which dropped 9.8 percent, and median home sales price, which fell 4.4 percent to $110,000 year over year in the quarter.

The number of distressed sales in the Ocean State fell 21.4 percent among single-family homes, 14.8 percent among condominiums and 23.9 percent in multifamily homes during the three months ended March 31.

Although real estate trends appear to be moving in the right direction overall, Doran said 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,” said Doran.

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