Median R.I. home price up 9% in January; fewer homes on market

Median R.I. home price up 9% in January; fewer homes on market

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“Historically low” inventory pushed up Rhode Island’s median home price by 9% in January, and the “diminishing supply is clearly hindering sales,” which fell by 9%, according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

In a sales report released Thursday, the association said January’s median single-family sales price was $244,900, 9% above what it was in January 2017. There were 609 single-family house sales, down from 668 in January 2017. Pending sales in January, those under contract but not yet sold, fell by 33% year-over-year.

“With just 2,497 single-family homes on the market last month, Rhode Island had less than a three-month supply of listings in January, resulting in a single-family home market that significantly favored sellers,” the association said. A six-month supply of inventory signals a market that is balanced between buyers and sellers.

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In January of 2017, there were 3,194 houses listed for sale in Rhode Island. The “days on market” dropped from 81 in January 2017 to 66 in January 2018, another indicator that properties are selling more quickly this year.

Inventory was exceptionally low in some areas. The association reported that a number of zip codes, including locations in East Providence, Cranston, Bradford and Woonsocket, had less than one month’s worth of homes for sale. Other areas had less than two months’ of inventory, including zip codes in Providence, North Providence, Bristol, Cranston, Coventry, Cumberland, Lincoln, Middletown, and Warwick. Barrington had 2.28 months’ worth of inventory, while Little Compton had 6.47 months of supply.

Sally Lapides, president and CEO of Residential Properties Ltd., agreed that inventory is a problem, but she expects more properties will come on the market in March.

“Things are in the pipeline,” she said.

Lapides said intense competition and multiple-bid situations are common in the entry level of the market, but they are not so much of an issue in the higher end — properties priced above $1 million.

“The lower the price range, the more buyers there are,” she said.

“People who are thinking about selling should give it serious consideration right now,” said association President Joseph Luca. “The lack of competition in the marketplace is hiking prices so sellers are realizing more profit.” But Luca added that “you must be prepared to move quickly when competing for your next home.”

In Rhode Island’s smaller condominium market, the median sales price rose 15.6% from January of 2017, to $215,000. There were 145 condo sales, an increase of 11.5%, while pending sales fell by 7.7%.

For multifamilies, the median price jumped 20% in January to $225,000, while closed sales increased by 3.6%, and pending sales fell by 18%.

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