While local real estate experts say the state's housing market is rebounding, Tiverton and Little Compton are trailing behind, according to reports from the Rhode Island Association of Realtors (RIAR).
According to year end data published by RIAR, sale volume increased significantly in both communities, however each town also saw a drop in median price for single family homes and an increase in sales of distressed properties - both indicators of an unbalanced market.
Statewide in 2012, the median price of all 2012 single family home sales fell slightly - 2.56 percent - from the prior year. Both Tiverton and Little Compton saw greater property value losses. In Tiverton, the median price of single family homes dropped 11.84 percent to $182,500 from its 2011 value of $207,000. In Little Compton, values dropped 7.78 percent to $468,000.
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In 2012, distressed sales dropped markedly. In January, the year began with distressed sales accounting for 35 percent of all single family sales statewide. By December, that number dropped to just under 27 percent.
Locally, however, distressed sales increased dramatically from 2011 to 2012. Tiverton saw nearly two times as many distressed sales, with 41 in 2012 over 21 in 2011 - a 95.24 percent increase. Little Compton's distressed sales jumped from 2 to 5 in 2012.
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For 2012 overall, single family median price fell three percent from 2011 to $190,000, though December alone showed an uptick in median price of three percent from December, 2011 across the state. Sales activity jumped 20 percent in 2012 but began to move toward more normal levels by the end of the year, rising nine percent in December. Pending sales – sales under contract but not yet closed - also increased six percent in December, pointing to continued sales activity in the first quarter of 2013.
“The number of homes sold increased consistently throughout 2012 but we didn’t see price gains until the fourth quarter. Median price has been up from the prior year for three consecutive months now. That’s a strong indication that we’re heading out of the woods,” said Victoria Doran, 2013 President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.
The year closed on a positive note with both median price and sales activity on the upswing in December. The price gains are a result of diminishing inventory which has led to a market balanced between buyers and sellers for the first time since the housing downturn began. The supply of single family homes for sale dropped 18 percent in December, ending the year with a six-month supply of properties for sale, the typical measure of a balanced market.