While Warwick recorded more single-family home sales in 2019 than any other municipality – 1,270 – the increase in median price was slightly below the state average increase of 5.6 percent according to statistics released this week by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.
The median price of Warwick single-family homes climbed from $230,000 to $239,900, a 4.3 percent increase for the year.
According to the report, at $285,000, the median sales price of single-family homes statewide hit the highest price point of all property types. That figure represented a 5.6 percent increase from the prior year and highest on record to date. It also represented a 43 percent increase from a decade earlier.
The $234,900 median of 2019 condominium sales reflected an 8.8 percent annual increase.
“Yes, prices are rising, but when taking the pulse of the housing market, it’s important to remember that prices had fallen drastically following the boom of the earlier part of this century and it’s taken us some time to fully catch up. In fact, 2019 was just the second consecutive year following the housing boom and subsequent downturn, in which a median-priced, single-family home sold for more than it had ten years earlier. We’re back to where we should be, seeing good, but not exaggerated gains in equity,” Shannon Buss, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors said in a release.
With the exception of the multifamily home market, increasing prices didn’t quell home sales. After falling nearly six percent from 2017 to 2018, single-family home transactions increased 3.1 percent from 2018 to 2019. Sales of condominiums remained consistent year to year, rising 0.3 percent while multifamily home sales decreased 2.4 percent.
Year over year, Warwick single-family home sales increased by 48. Cranston ranked second in the state for single-family home sales for 2019 with a total of 952 followed by Providence at 564.
“We can thank a good economy and continued low interest rates for the momentum in the housing market. Overall, 2020 looks bright. Our biggest concern in the year ahead is lack of inventory. Rhode Island has a shortage of starter homes because they’re just too expensive to build here. We need to grow our supply of workforce housing at the entry level if we’re to keep momentum in the market overall,” said Buss.
Both median price and sales activity statistics showed higher rates of gain in the fourth quarter compared to year-end, showing little sign of weakness in Rhode Island’s housing market leading into 2020.