Condo, home sales rise in January

THE NUMBER OF CONDOMINIUMS and single-family homes sold in Rhode Island rose 60 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in January.
Posted 3/1/13

WARWICK – Condominium sales in the Ocean State soared 60 percent in January, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors said Friday.

The median price of total condo sales rose 28 percent to $199,450 in January. Excluding foreclosures and short sales, the median price of condos sold in January was $231,750.

According to the Realtors’ release, the median price of condos has outpaced the median price of single-family homes for the last three months, “due in part to the fact that the condo market is less influenced by distressed sales.”

Only 15 percent of condo sales in January were sold through short sale or foreclosure, a drop of 30 percent from a year ago. The state’s condo inventory has also fallen every month since January 2012, according to the release, a trend that is putting upward pressure on prices.

“The condo market has been red hot throughout the fall and winter, with both sales activity and median price experiencing double-digit growth,” Victoria Doran, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, said in prepared remarks. “We’ve seen strong sales and increased prices for six months now and January was off the charts.”

The sales of single-family homes also increased, though not as dramatically as condo sales. Sales activity increased 4 percent year over year in January and the median price increased 1.3 percent to $175,000. Excluding distressed sales, the median price of a single-family home in Rhode Island in January was $201,000.

The percentage of single-family home short sales and foreclosures fell to 26 percent in the month, down from the 35 percent reported in January 2012. The state’s supply of single-family homes also continued to tighten, falling 18 percent in January from the same month last year.

“January and February are typically slow months in real estate but our phones are ringing,” said Doran in a statement. “The uptick in activity bodes well for the months ahead. It’s encouraging that sales are continuing to climb and that short sales and foreclosures are diminishing.”

The state’s multi-family market showed a slowdown in activity in January, falling by 13 percent. Pending sales of multi-family homes rose 12 percent in January.

The median price of all multi-family homes sold in the state in January rose 5 percent to $115,500. Excluding distressed sales, the median sales price of multi-family homes sold in Rhode Island in January was $146,500.

“Investors, recognizing a market bottom, helped usher the multi-family market into recovery early,” said the RIAR release. “Multi-family sales began rising in September 2011 and continued to show an upward trend through most of last year. The flurry of sales activity began to moderate toward the end of 2012 however, as the multi-family market began to stabilize.”

The multi-family home market, which was once dominated by distressed sales, saw the number of distressed sales fall from 60 percent to 41 percent in January.

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