Rhode Island’s single-family home sales are up roughly 18 percent from this time last year, though the median price of homes is down more than 6 percent. While statewide trends for most towns are a mixed bag, “all towns have a silver lining,” said Jamie Moore, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.
“But not Cranston,” she added.
In Cranston, second-quarter single-family home sales are up 15 percent from 2011 but median prices are down roughly 4 percent. Cranston also saw a 20 percent decrease in sales of distressed properties.
Cranston saw a 3-percent increase in sales of multi-family homes, but a large dip in the median price, which fell from $168,000 in 2011 to $130,000 in 2012. There were also 75 percent more distressed properties this year.
Condo sales nearly doubled this year, but median prices again plunged from $123,000 in 2011 to $74,500 in 2012. The number of distressed properties doubled.
“We want to see [increased sales],” said Moore. “House sales are what generate economy and other industries. People say for every house that sells, five jobs are created.”
Those jobs are through home repair, additions, remodeling, furnishing and more.
“It’s a great benefit to the number of units selling,” she said.
Moore said the state has seen a consecutive 13-month increase in units sold, though the prices of homes have not shown the same upward trend.
“Prices have still been relatively low,” she said, but coupled with great interest rates, homes in the $200,000 and less range are moving through the pipeline steadily.
“People are starting to realize: how long are these interest rates going to stay this good?” she said.
Moore said as the demand for homes in this price range increases – with the supply now going down – the prices of the homes will begin to take an upward turn.
Statewide numbers of distressed properties (short sales or foreclosures) were up nearly 15 percent from last year, rising from 497 to 570. However, sales of distressed properties decreased from 27.5 percent in 2011 to just under 27 percent this year; distressed sales also decreased throughout the second quarter. The first quarter data showed distressed sales making up 34 percent of the market.
Multi-family home sales were about the same this year as last year, with the median price up $500 from 2011’s $120,000. 2012 saw 6 percent fewer distressed properties. The percent of distressed sales of multi-family homes was down to 47 percent from last year’s 50 percent, and down also from the 2012 first quarter percentage of 55.
Moore said multi-family home sales have been looking up; a trend she said is due to investors’ ability to pay off mortgages with rental incomes.
Statewide condo sales were up 11 percent from last year, while the median price took a $3,000 dip.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said Moore of the data. “It’s slow but steady. We’re going in the right direction.”
Moore said if interest rates stay low, a balance between supply and demand in the market is established and people become more confident in the jobs market, the real estate industry will make a steady comeback.
Still, “We don’t have a crystal ball,” she said.