Market Trends

RI Home Sales Regain Strength in February

Warwick, R.I. – March 23, 2018 — After falling behind last year’s pace in December and January, single-family home sales in Rhode Island jumped ahead of 2017’s activity by 4.5 percent last month. The data was released in a report by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors today.

The increase in sales occurred despite a drop in available inventory of 15.6 percent compared to February of 2017. Monthly pending sales, typically a sign of moderating sales to follow, have also declined year-over-year for 15 consecutive months.

The increase in Rhode Island home sales ran counter to the trend in other northeastern states which was reported by the National Association of Realtors earlier this week. The national association reported that Northeast sales declined 12.3 percent overall in February.

The surge in activity was also accompanied by an increase in median price. February’s median sales price of single-family homes was $250,000, 8.2 percent higher than that seen 12 months earlier.

“We’re heading into the spring market full steam ahead. It appears that it is taking shape a bit earlier this year as consumers head out early to try to get ahead of the rush of buyers who will be competing for spring inventory,” said Joe Luca, 2018 President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

Condominium sales also rose in February, increasing 5.7 percent while the median sales price held relatively steady, rising just .4 percent to $210,750. Six hundred and eighty-three (683) condos were listed for sale last month compared to 762 a year earlier. Pending sales also dropped slightly, falling 1.7 percent year-over-year.

Sales activity in the multifamily home market stayed relatively flat, rising just 1.7 percent but the median sales price skyrocketed 27 percent to $228,500, the second highest monthly median price since 2007. Inventory fell by 5.9 percent to 451 units available for sale and sales under contract but not yet sold continued to fall for the eighth consecutive month.

“Overall, I’m feeling confident about the spring selling season but there’s no question that we need more listings to keep sales moving and prices from escalating too high.

“If homeowners are considering selling, they can’t ask for a better time to put their home on the market. Homes are moving quickly and sellers are receiving multiple bids. However, recent reports from the Federal Reserve indicate that rates are going up. That means that affordability will decrease, culling out prospective buyers. Also, if homeowners wait to sell, they will also be paying more interest on their new loan,” said Luca.

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