Higher home prices reported in most South County towns in November

Higher home prices reported in most South County towns in November

Single-family home sales in South County in November were slightly less than the same month last year, but the median price increased in seven of the nine towns. A total of 146 homes changed hands, compared with 150 in November 2016.

The figures, based on reports to the statewide Multiple Listing Service, were released Wednesday by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

“Growth in Rhode Island’s housing market has been impressive this year, surpassing even last year’s record-breaking numbers,” said Joseph Luca, of RE/MAX Preferred in North Providence, the association’s new president. Here are the local results:

■Westerly: 23 homes sold, compared with 30 in November 2016. The median price was $312,000, up $2,000, and the homes spent an average of 70 days on the market, compared with 99 the year before. There was one “distressed” sale in each year, defined as a transaction involving a foreclosure or a price that was less than the mortgage.■Charlestown: 23 homes sold, 9 more than the number last year. The median price was $430,000, compared with $417,000 in November 2016, and the average days on the market was 93, compared with 42 a year earlier. There were no distressed sales in either year.■Hopkinton: 12 home sales, compared with 7 in November 2016. The median price was $282,111, compared with $247,500 the year before, and the average days on the maket was 55, compared with 60 in November 2016. There was one distressed sale, one fewer than the preceding November.■Richmond: 6 home sales, down from 11 last year. The median price rose to $308,275, from $285,000 last November, and the average time on the market fell to 42 days, compared with 82 in the same month last year. There were no distressed sale; last year there was one.

Exeter, which had only 2 single-family home sales, and Block Island, which had 5, were the only towns in which the median price declined in November. Still, Block Island remained the priciest market in the state, with a median price of $935,000. Second place went to Newport, at $752,450.

Statewide, the Realtors reported that 905 homes were sold last month, compared with 898 in November 2016, for a gain of 0.78 percent. The median price of those sales rose 5.7 percent to $259,000.

With 3,154 single-family homes listed for sale by the MLS, inventory remained 8.3 percent below that of November 2016. The association said that lack of inventory played a part in a drop in pending sales. Homes under contract in November fell to 1,034, compared to 1,276 last year, down nearly 19 percent.

Condominium sales, which are not broken out by town, totaled 175 in November, 10 more than the same month last year. There were 231 pending transactions, compared with 255 a year earlier, and the number of listings dropped to 722, from 765, a decline of nearly 6 percent.

Luca, voicing the industry’s concerns about the Republican tax bill, stated that “Lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction for primary homes and the loss in most deductions for home equity interest run counter to the interests of property owners. Thankfully, it looks like the capital gains exemption for real property remained intact, and though subject to limits, the deduction on mortgage interest on second homes was preserved. Equally important, particularly to the investor market, the final bill excludes real property from the repeal of Section 1031 like-kind exchanges.”

He was referring to a section of the IRS code that allows investors to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of property if the proceeds are reinvested in similar property.

The Rhode Island group noted that the national association’s fourth-quarter survey indicated that new provisions in the tax law would “undercut the incentive of owning a home and would have a detrimental effect on many homeowners’ financial situation and future desire to move.” As a result, Luca said that 2018 “may see tempered sales activity and a slowdown in price growth.”


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