Market Trends

R.I.’s home sales trends stay on course at beginning of year

Warwick, RI – February 21, 2019 — January sales data released today by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors and its subsidiary, State-Wide Multiple Listing Service, reflect that 2018 housing trends are continuing into the new year.

Low inventory levels continued to move prices upward in Rhode Island’s single-family home market last month. At $253,000, January’s median sales price was 3.6 percent higher than that seen a year earlier and was the highest median sales price in January since 2007.

Though the number of homes available for sale remains low, moderating sales are beginning to replenish supply. Single-family home closings decreased 3.6 percent in January compared to 12 months earlier, leaving 2790 single-family homes on the market. That number translates to a three-month supply of homes for sale, resulting in a single-family home market that still favors sellers. However, with 11.7 percent more inventory than last year, the market does appear to be balancing out. Generally, a balanced housing market tends to have about six months of supply.

“Fewer homes and higher prices priced out many first-time homebuyers in 2018, but we’re hopeful that continued growth in inventory will provide buyers with more choices in the 2019 spring market,” said Dean deTonnancourt, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. “For those priced out of the single-family market, multifamily properties have been especially attractive as first-time buyers can reduce their housing expenses by collecting rental income,” he explained.

The median price of Rhode Island’s multifamily property sales also increased with the median sales price reaching $264,000, an increase of 17.3 percent from the same time a year ago. Rhode Island has not reached a higher monthly median sales price of multifamily home sales since May 2007.

The number of multifamily home sales also continued to climb last month, although at a slower rate of increase.

“Multifamily property sales have skyrocketed since 2012 and prices have trended upward consistently since mid-2013. Much of that is a result of the drastic reduction in prices that occurred just over a decade ago. Investors played a large part in the booming multifamily home market during the catch-up phase but now the equity lost during the downturn has been regained. It’s possible therefore, that the we’ll start to see investors take more of a back seat to first-time buyers in this market sector, at least until the supply of single-family homes becomes more abundant and accessible for first-time buyers,” said deTonnancourt.

The median sales price of condos continued to climb as well, increasing to $225,00 for the month of January, 4.7 percent higher than the same month a year ago.

Like the single-family home market, the condominium sector experienced a 13.8 drop in closing activity year-over-year.

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