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Contact: Kerry Park
Ph: 401-432-6948
Cell: 401-207-4502
Email: kerry@rirealtors.org

Stay-at-home order curbs Rhode Island home sales in May

Warwick, R.I. – June 12, 2020 – The median price of single-family homes sold in Rhode Island hit a new record last month. May’s price of $309,500 was the third time in a year that Rhode Island’s median sales price topped the $300,000 threshold.

The flip side of that news was a 31 percent decline in sales year-over-year, a drop directly tied to the pandemic. The number of homes available for sale fell 33 percent since May of 2019, leaving a 2.7-month supply of inventory, a slight increase than that seen earlier in the year, though still distressingly low.

The good news is that the market did not show further decline from the prior month - median sales price, closing activity and listings of single-family homes increased marginally from April to May.

“What we saw last month is not surprising given that everyone was sequestered at home in April and much of March,” said Shannon Buss, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. “It has become apparent that our “spring” selling season will begin in the summer, depending on the comfort level of buyers and sellers in social settings as we reopen the economy. The good news is, we’re seeing a lot of buying activity, and multiple offer situations are prevalent.”

The multifamily home median price also hit an all-time high, climbing to $305,000, a 14 percent gain from May of last year. Sales plummeted 42.6 percent however, and listings fell 43 percent from the prior May, leaving just over a two-month supply of multifamily homes for sale. 

From April to May, stay at home orders and pandemic hardships caused multifamily home sales activity to fall 23 percent, while the median sales price grew by 14.3 percent. The supply of properties on the market increased marginally, from two months in April to 2.2 months in May.

“Our investor-driven market has been hit the hardest as far as inventory shortages. Even prior to the pandemic, owners have been reaping the benefits of rising rental income, so they have been hanging on to those properties. And, of course, current events have made it even harder to list properties for sale,” commented Buss.

The condominium market also saw price gains, coupled with steep declines in closed transactions. The median sales price rose five percent to $243,500, while sales activity dropped 38.6 percent year-over-year.  The number of listings also decreased significantly, falling 23 percent from the prior year.

Currently the condo market has a 3.6-month supply of units for sale and while still far below the six-month supply which indicates a balanced market, condos offer the most options for buyers to choose from at the lowest price points.

From April to May, the condo sector held its own. Sales rose by 28.7 percent while median price and listings fell by 2.6 and 3.9 percent respectively.

“Obviously sales activity in May was bleak, as we expected, but we’re heartened by the fact that conditions haven’t deteriorated further from April to May.  Our biggest obstacle is listing properties for sale, but that was the case before the pandemic as well. Now that the stay at home orders are lifted and people are getting back out, we’re hopeful that potential sellers will become more comfortable about putting their home on the market. Sellers really are getting top dollar right now and buyers are taking advantage of fantastic rates,” commented Buss.


Housing Statistics Archives

Months Supply: Click here for interactive display

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 6,000 members in approximately 900 offices, has been serving Rhode Islanders since 1948. Collectively, RI REALTORS® transacted nearly $5.4 billion in real estate sales last year. 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.

press photo

Shannon Buss

2020 President,
RI Association of REALTORS®


May 2020
Single-family Monthly
Sales Comparison


May 2020
Multifamily Monthly
Sales Comparison


May 2020
Condo Monthly
Sales Comparison


May 2020
Single-family Sales
By Town