Market Trends

Median R.I. home price still rising in first quarter

According to first quarter sales statistics from the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, the median price of single-family home sales increased two percent from the first quarter of 2018 to $255,000. Nine municipalities saw double-digit increases in median price with Westerly leading the pack with a 27.8 percent gain. Median price reflects the mid-point of all sales, with half sold for less and half sold for more. Only twelve municipalities experienced a decline in median sales price.

Meanwhile, single-family closing activity experienced a slight decline for the second consecutive year. 1903 homes sold last quarter, down from 1951 sales in the first quarter of last year, a decrease of 2.5 percent. Overall, sales activity fell or stayed the same year over year in 28 of the 40 districts measured.

“With rare exception, quarterly prices have been rising consistently since 2012. However, the rate of appreciation is becoming more subdued and while home sales are still moving quickly, properties are staying on the market a little longer than they had last year,” said Dean deTonnancourt, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

In other sectors of the market, the median sales price of multifamily homes saw a double-digit increase in the first quarter. At $256,500, this year’s multifamily home median price was 14 percent higher than that seen in the first quarter of 2018. Sales activity increased marginally, rising .5 percent.

“There’s no doubt that multifamily properties remain an attractive option to both investors and first-time buyers. I can’t remember seeing the median price of multifamily sales being higher than that of single-family homes as it is now. The demand in that market has definitely kept prices at a premium,” said deTonnancourt.

Among condominium sales, the median price increased to $225,000, a 7.1 percent increase from the first quarter of 2018. At the same time, sales activity decreased by 6.8 percent.

“In this year’s spring market, buyers are seeing some promising signs. Price appreciation is slowing down, thanks in part to moderating sales activity and increased inventory, and mortgage rates remain low. While sellers are still seeing solid gains, buyers should start having more room to negotiate as these trends take hold,” said deTonnancourt.