standing home sales

Hopkinton recorded the biggest gain in single-family home sales in South County last year, according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors' year-end sales report.

The tabulation of Realtor-assisted home closings shows that 120 homes were sold in Hopkinton in 2019, 26 more than in 2018. The median price rose to $327,500, compared with $282,250 the year before, and the homes spent an average of 77 days on the market, compared with 62 in 2018. Ten of the sales were of so-called distressed properties, two more than were reported a year earlier (such properties involve foreclosure or a sale price less than the mortgage).

Overall in South County, 1,781 single-family homes changed hands in 2019, a gain of 4.7% from the 1,701 sales in 2018. Statewide, association members handled 11,013 sales, an increase of 326, or 3%. Here are the figures from other area towns:

Westerly: 279 home sales, one more than the year before. The median price rose to $335,000 from $328,250, and the homes averaged 63 days on the market, one more day that the 2018 average. There were five distressed sales; a year earlier there were 10.

Charlestown: 179 home sales, up eight from 2018. The median price rose to $409,900 from $386,000, and the average days on the market was 69, up from 62 in 2018. Distressed sales numbered six, two fewer than the year before.

Richmond: 124 home sales, a gain of seven. The median price fell to $298,500, compared with $305,000 in 2018, and the homes averaged 55 days on the market, down from 62. There were five distressed sales, one less than in 2018.

For the state as a whole, the median price was $285,000, up 5.6% from year-end 2018 and the "highest on record to date," the Realtors said. 

Block Island, with 26 home sales, again had the highest median price in the state, $990,000. Among towns with more active markets, Narragansett, at $499,450, was second only to the East Side of Providence, which rose to $625,000. Providence excluding the East Side had the lowest median price among active markets, $203,700 (based on 564 sales). 

The year-end data also included condominium home sales. Among area towns, Westerly led with 89 condo sales, up six from 2018, and the median price rose to $236,000 from $189,000.

Statewide there were 2,305 condo sales, six more than in 2018, and the median price was $234,900, compared with $216,000 a year earlier.

Among multifamily home sales, Westerly was the leader in South County with 35, compared with 20 in 2018. The median price rose to $275,000, compared with $269,500 the year beore.

Shannon Buss, president of the association, said that 2019 "was just the second consecutive year following the housing boom and subsequent downturn, in which a median-priced, single-family home sold for more than it had 10 years earlier. We’re back to where we should be, seeing good, but not exaggerated gains in equity.”

Buss said the outlook was favorable in 2020 but lack of inventory is a problem. "Rhode Island has a shortage of starter homes because they’re just too expensive to build here," she said. "We need to grow our supply of workforce housing at the entry level if we’re to keep momentum in the market overall.”

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