Preparing for Providence Real Estate Trends for 2013

Here in Rhode Island, recovery is underway, but as with the rest of the Rhode Island economy, we tend to lag the national numbers and the rest of New England. I am going to focus on single families and the newly released 3rd quarter statistics to tell the tales of two cities: the East Side and Barrington.

Year over year, 2012 to 2011 in the third quarter the East Side saw 58 sales this year compared to 44 last year, a 32% increase. The median price was $425,300 this year, compared to $433,000 last year, a 2% decrease.

In Barrington, the third quarter stats show 70 sales this year, compared with 74 last year, a 5% decrease. The median sales price this year was $365,000, compared with $442,500 last year, a startling 17.5% decrease.

The main reason for such a discrepancy is as simple as supply and demand: currently on the East Side there are 62 active single family listings. In Barrington, there are 128. On the East Side there seems to be roughly an equilibrium between the number of buyers looking for a house and the number of people wanting to sell, which is resulting in a stabilization of prices. In Barrington there continues to be more house for sale than there are buyers which puts downward pressure on prices.

Real estate activity typically slows down significantly at the end of the year. This year end has been much busier as more buyers seem to be taking advantage of historically low interest rates and the mounting evidence that, in at least some areas of the market, prices have hit bottom and are inching up.

We know this is an extraordinarily busy time of year, but if you, or someone you know, is thinking of selling or buying next spring, now is the time to plant the seeds that will bear real estate fruit in 2013.

We are already working with sellers on the East Side, Barrington and Oak Hill to get their houses ready to go on the market next spring. We like to meet with sellers now to devise a strategic plan that gives them ample lead time to get their property in the best possible shape to shine for buyers next spring. Our planning helps guide cost-effective decisions on deferred maintenance and freshening projects and staging ideas that best position their house to appeal to buyers. We cannot stress enough how critical this preparation is to achieving the seller’s goal of selling their house for the highest price in the shortest amount of time. You only get that one chance to make a first impression with buyers and the first three weeks a house is on the market is the best opportunity for sellers to get the best price so you want everything looking its finest from Day One!

The next three months is also a great time for our buyer clients to get ready for next spring. Once we have a discussion with our buyers on what they are looking for, we can get automated searches created for them and start looking at properties. You may not actually put an offer in on a house in the winter, but you can develop your own sense of the inventory and market conditions as well as test your expectations versus the realities of what you see available.

We have found that buying a house usually comes down to a process of eliminating those houses that won’t work for you while adjusting and fine-tuning your list of what is essential and what is not. This education process makes buyers more confident in the choice they make and allows them to act quickly if need be (and with the return of multiple offers at some price points the need to act quickly and decisively is coming back into play).

Thanks to all for making 2012 a very good year and here’s wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year in 2013!