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ProJo: R.I. real estate: 2017 — a really hot market


Posted: Jan 18, 2018 at 12:01 AM

Sales rose again, median price was up 6% and days on market fell, too. Biggest problem was lack of inventory, particularly in the starter home market.


PROVIDENCE — House sales increased in Rhode Island for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, creating a “hot” market despite falling inventory, according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

In a report released Thursday, the association said 2017 single-family home sales reached 11,282, “eclipsing previous records,” and the median house price was $255,000, a 6-percent increase compared with 2016. The median price is still short of that reached for the boom year of 2005, $282,900. After the banking crisis in 2008, the median price fell, reaching a low of $190,000 for 2012.

There were 11,066 homes sold in Rhode Island in 2016, so the 2017 statistics show an increase in sales volume of nearly 2 percent, the association said.

Another indicator, “days on market,” fell by 21 percent in 2017, to 61 days, meaning that houses sold more quickly, on average, in 2017 than they did in 2016.

“The housing market was hot last year,” said association president Joseph Luca. “Our biggest problem was lack of inventory, particularly in the starter home market. It seemed like properties were being sold just as soon as they were listed, which made it extremely tough for buyers, particularly in some areas more than others.”

Communities with “days on market” below the state average of 61 included Burrillville (53); Central Falls (60); Coventry (54); Cranston (48); Cumberland (45); East Providence (49); East Side of Providence (49); Glocester (56); Johnston (51); North Providence (47); North Smithfield (50); Pawtucket (51); Providence (49); Smithfield (47); Warren (57); Warwick (51); West Warwick (54); and Woonsocket (50).

Some of the state’s most expensive markets had the highest days on market: Block Island (307); Little Compton (155); and Jamestown (135).

Although starter homes, priced well and in good shape, sold most quickly, 2017 was also a notable year for high-end sales. Comedian Jay Leno’s $13.5 million purchase of the Seafair condos on Ocean Avenue in Newport ranked as the state’s top residential sale in 2017.

Another Newport property, Ocean Lawn, at 51 Cliff Ave., which sold for $11,650,000, came in at number two. The historic, 24-room mansion on the Cliff Walk, formerly known as the Firestone estate, was sold to Alexis DeJoria — a professional drag racer and the wife of reality television star Jesse James — and her billionaire father, John Paul DeJoria, the cofounder of the Paul Mitchell hair care products line and the Patron Spirits Co.

Other top sales in 2017 took place in Westerly’s pricey Watch Hill and Weekapaug neighborhoods, Ferry Road in Bristol, Tuckerman Avenue in Middletown and East Shore Road in Jamestown. The highest sales price ever achieved for a Rhode Island residence is the $17.75-million purchase in April 2013 of Taylor Swift’s oceanfront mansion in Watch Hill.

In addition to Seafair, less pricey condos also had a strong sales year in Rhode Island. Condo sales were up by 12 percent in Rhode Island, and the the median condo price rose by 7.6 percent, to $215,000.

Luca said condos were an alternative for many buyers facing fewer options in the single-family market. Also, “less restrictive financing terms and lower price points allowed first-time buyers entry into the market,” he added.

In the state’s smaller, investor-driven multifamily home market, both sales and median price increased by 15 percent in 2017.

cdunn@providencejournal.com/

(401) 277-7913

On Twitter @ChristineMDunn

Courtesy of Providence Journal