May housing report shows an up-tick in sales


The RE/MAX of New England May Monthly Housing Report released earlier this week shows an up-tick in housing sales across the region, with Rhode Island holding the most notable increase in New England.

The report indicates Rhode Island sales are up 31.3 percent month-over-month and 35.2 percent year-over-year in total home transactions. Median price also rose in Rhode Island by 4.2 percent per information supplied by Larisa Kupris, spokesperson for RE/MAX New England.

“Housing is becoming normal and healthy again,” said Karl Martone, local broker and agent at the Martone Group.

Martone has been a licensed Rhode Island broker since 1988 and has 28 years real estate experience.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors agreed. In a release earlier this week, the association posted positive indicators for the Rhode Island market, based on sharp declines in foreclosure and short sales. Foreclosures and short sales continued to abate, accounting for 19 percent of all sales last month compared to 2012 numbers at 25 percent.

“Though it took a while to get here, we knew we were heading toward this point,” Victoria Doran, president of the R.I. Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “Now thousands of homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief as their home equity once again begins to rise.”

After what is said to be years of excess supply, the Rhode Island housing market showed balance in supply and demand in all categories of housing, including single- and multi-family homes and condominiums.

“It’s consistent and the value is real,” said Martone. “We are seeing an increase in median price. If interest rates stay where they are, below 4 percent, we will see the trend continue.”

Martone believes housing inventory in the state is moving toward being leveraged.

“It is a more normal number. Current market prices are fair for the buyer and the seller,” he said. “I tell the consumer not to focus on the tax assessor and to focus on the property.”

Johnston sales remained even at 20 properties sold year-over-year, although the median price rose significantly from $138,450 in 2012 to $177,500, a 28.21 percent increase. An additional positive indicator for the Johnston housing market was a decrease in days on market from an average of 114 to 96. According to Martone, “days on market” is calculated from the first day a property goes on the market through the date the sales contract is signed. Days on market does not include closing time.

In Cranston, the year-over-year numbers were up 15.63 percent from the same time last year, with 74 sales closed in 2013, up from 64 in 2012.

The average median price was also up from $171,000 in 2012 to $187,000 in May 2013. Days on market for the Cranston housing market declined from an average of 93 in 2012 to an average of 72.

Warwick showed a slight increase at 4.4 percent with 95 properties closed last year, up from 91 in 2012. The median price in Warwick also showed an increase, up 6.2 percent at $154,000. Days on market declined from 83 in 2012 to 65 in 2013.

Connecticut and New Hampshire also experienced double-digit growth in both indices. Overall, median price was said to increase 3.4 percent, with pending sales up 61.5 percent year-over-year.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors provided additional positive indicators, reporting that the number of single-family homes available for sale dropped by 11 percent and sales contracts not yet closed rose by 6 percent, indicating future momentum in the market.

Martone recommends that buyers and sellers have a licensed realtor perform a property assessment before entering into a real estate transaction.


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