The story has a consistent theme – Warwick single-family home sales outpace any other city or town in the state. In the month of May the totals were even higher than customary, with a total of 142 Warwick single-family homes selling as compared to Cranston, the next highest, with 80. The total statewide for the month was 1,044, which, according to the State-Wide Multiple Listing Service, is the greatest number of single-family home sales for the month of May on record.
Of course, there’s more than one story here. By themselves the numbers are remarkable, reflective of a hot real estate market for the price range of homes Warwick has to offer. Warwick’s median home price, with half the prices higher and half lower, is $221,500 as compared to a statewide median of $250,000.
That’s part of it. As local realtors surmise in a story appearing in today’s Beacon, people have more money – plus many homeowners who were underwater owning homes that were valued less than what they paid for them before the Great Recession – are finally in a position to consider moving up. That activity opens up opportunities for others to move up as well as first-time homebuyers.
There’s a refrain we’ve heard more than once in covering the city’s housing market. While Warwick houses are selling and the average days on market for a property is 57, down 10 days from a year ago at this time, realtors are finding buyers are concerned about Warwick schools. Lack of a contract for almost two years and issues over the budget, class sizes and the condition of buildings have put a dampener on young families moving into Warwick.
There was a time when Warwick schools were touted as a major benefit to living in Warwick. Classified home ads often listed the school district of a property with Toll Gate, it being a relatively new school, frequently cited. Today, some realtors tell us they don’t say anything about schools unless the prospective buyer brings it up.
There are no statistics on how factors are weighted in making a decision to buy a property. Many criteria play into a decision to make such a substantial investment as buying a home in addition to affordability, from proximity to amenities, to security, taxes and neighborhood. Warwick has much to offer. Its central location in the state, its governance that has been scandal free, public safety departments and 39-mile coastline all come into play.
It is reassuring that the demand for Warwick single-family homes is brisk and that the community offers good value to those looking to buy a home. It could offer so much more if the good work done in our classrooms was not marred by the persistent inability of the teachers union and the administration to work together for the common good of Warwick.