Duane Boucher recently was named the 2016 president of the statewide Multiple Listing Service. The principal broker of Boucher Real Estate in Woonsocket, Boucher was twice named the Northern Rhode Island Board of Realtors’ top-producing Realtor. He recently responded to questions about his new role from Providence Business News.
PBN: You recently were named president of the 2016 statewide MLS System. What is the MLS system and what role does the president serve?
BOUCHER: The statewide MLS is an organization wholly owned by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors and designed to provide business solutions to local Realtors and industry professionals. A primary function of the organization is to provide a means by which authorized participants make blanket unilateral offers of compensation to other participants. In essence, a method of sharing information regarding property for sale and the compensation for such brokerage services so that Realtors can collaborate to help their clients and customers transact property most efficiently. As president of the organization, I will work with the board of directors and MLS staff to enhance the products and services that we offer. We expect to launch a major software upgrade in conjunction with rolling out several new technology tools to ensure that our members are the most informed, credible and reliable sources of industry information in our marketplace.
PBN: How did you enter the field of real estate? What got you started?
BOUCHER: I’m one of the few people who actually pursued the field of real estate as a first career choice. It wasn’t easy searching for colleges offering a curriculum specializing in real estate, but when I finally found a real estate major offered at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., and attended, I discovered that I was the only one who had done so that year. Real estate had always been an interest of mine since growing up with an entrepreneurial father who started as a carpenter, obtained his real estate license and ultimately opened up his own brokerage, before expanding to the fields of property management and development. I’ve always loved the fact that real estate is such a multifaceted career path, allowing for opportunities to broker sales, invest, renovate, manage and develop property. The ability to create your own path, be your own boss, and develop rewarding relationships with clients and business partners is what has really made this the right choice for me.
PBN: What do you think of the market for residential, as we head into 2016?
BOUCHER: The outlook for the 2016 residential market is positive. Our third-quarter 2015 statistics show a solid increase in both volume and sales prices of single-family homes over the same period in 2014. A 12 percent increase in volume and a 9 percent increase in median sale prices appear to demonstrate a healthy market recovery. The number of distressed property transactions, including bank owned and short sales, has come down by 24 percent. The market will continue its measured recovery through 2016 and beyond. The national economic recovery, low interest rates and even being an election year all seem to point us in a positive direction. Although we may experience an uptick in interest rates before long, the overall conditions for the continued recovery are good.
PBN: What is available in Woonsocket that people may not have noticed?
BOUCHER: Woonsocket is so diverse in that it offers a lot more than many people realize. It’s located between Providence, Boston and Worcester with easy access to commuter rail and highways, making it an ideal place to live. This once-bustling industrial hub has a wealth of history and some beautiful surviving architecture. The north end is flush with elegant and stately manor homes that can be purchased for a fraction of what it would cost to construct them today. Areas such as East Woonsocket and Bernon offer suburban neighborhoods, which are a great place to raise a family. Shopping and entertainment are always close by and investment opportunities loom everywhere because there is such a viable mix of residential, multifamily, condominium, commercial and industrial property.
PBN: What is the market like in northern Rhode Island in particular?
BOUCHER: The northern Rhode Island market is recovering nicely. We’re finally seeing an increase in new construction starts, and homes are moving quickly. Many of the northern Rhode Island towns are known as bedroom communities for the Providence market, but due to the higher price point of homes across the Massachusetts border, we see an influx of buyers from there seeking better value here as well. Several major employers in the area, such as CVS Health, contribute to the health of the real estate market. There is no one dominant economic engine. The growth of the market will continue to rise with the desire for attractive, safe and accessible areas to live and work.