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Press Release

Contact: Kerry Park
Ph: 401-432-6948
Cell: 401-207-4502

FOR RELEASE: February 24, 2009

Single Family Home Sales Dip Slightly in January

Warwick, RI, February 24, 2009…According to statistics released today by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, the number of existing single family home sales was down 3.2 percent last month, from 376 sales in January 2008 to 364 sales in January 2009.  The median price dropped markedly, down 28.6 from $245,000 to $175,000 owing to an unprecedented number of distressed sales in January.  Forty-eight (48) percent of properties were sold through short sale or foreclosure.  The median price of non-distressed sales was $227,475.

Pending sales – those under contract but not yet closed – were up 23.6 percent year to year and the inventory of homes for sale dropped nearly 12 percent, from 5877 in January, 2008 to 5184 last month.   Stabilization of the market depends upon reducing excess inventory.  “We’re pleased that President Obama has taken steps to make credit more available to buyers,” said Paul Leys, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. “We need to make sure that sales under contract are able to get through the lending quagmire and the stimulus package has components in place to do that. We think that the new government incentives for lenders and buyers will be the push needed to make the market level out,” he said.

The statistics indicated great variances in sales trends between towns. Providence, for example, which had a foreclosure rate of 72.5 percent, saw a median sales price of $75,000. Jamestown by comparison, had no distressed sales and a median price in excess of $1.8 million.  Sales in Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence and Warwick alone accounted for 44 percent of the sales in the 39 cities and towns. 

“It’s never been more important to understand your local market,” said Leys.  “Pricing trends are all over the map, by town and by market segment.  The median price of homes sold for over a million dollars for example, actually increased by 22 percent in January. There’s no hard and set rule to live by for all properties,” Leys cautioned.

The condo market saw a 42.5 percent decrease in number of sales, from 87 sold in January 2008 to 50 sold last month. The median condo price dropped from $210,000 to $166,000 or 21 percent.  Thirty (30) percent of those sold, sold through foreclosure or short sales. The median price of those not selling under duress was $215,000.

The majority (82%) of multi-family units sold as distressed sales, causing a drop in median price by more than 40 percent, ($91,000 from $152,000 the year prior.) The bargain basement prices however, helped spark sales, which were up152 percent year-to-year from 65 to 164.

“There are great deals out there and extremely low interest rates.  Plus, components of the stimulus package like the $8000 tax credit for buyers who haven’t owned a home in three years, offer fantastic incentives” said Leys.  “If you have decent credit, there’s a world of opportunity out there,” he said.

Paul Leys

State President


Single Family Sales
By Town

About the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®

The Rhode Island Association of REALTORS┬«, one of the largest trade organizations in Rhode Island with more than 7,000 members in approximately 900 offices, has been serving Rhode Islanders since 1948. Collectively, RI REALTORS┬« transacted nearly $7.9 billion in residential real estate sales last year and nearly $8.1 billion in total transactions including rentals and commercial real estate. Advocating for Rhode Island's property owners, the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property.

The Association is one of more than 1,400 boards and associations that comprise the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America's largest trade association, representing over 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries and who subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics.

REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.