WARWICK – Single-family home sales in the Ocean State rose 19 percent in December compared with the same month a year earlier, but the steady flow of deals for distressed properties helped drive the median sales price down 14 percent, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors said Thursday.
The 630 homes sold in Rhode Island in December, up from 529 in December 2010, represented the sixth straight month of year-over-year sales increases. There were also 997 pending sales, those under contract that haven’t closed, which marked a 17 percent increase over December 2010.
The Realtors Association attributed the steady rise in sales to factors including the low price of properties, especially those available through short sale or foreclosure. The number of distressed sales during the month increased 54 percent from a year ago.
Driven in part by those sales, the median sale price dropped to $179,900, down from $210,000 a year earlier and $193,000 in November. Excluding distressed sales, the median sales price in December was $220,000.
Realtors Association President Jamie Moore attributed the quickening of sales at least in part to lenders streamlining the process of getting “bank-owned properties and bad debt off their books.”