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Rhode Island home sales in August reach decade-long high

Home sales – and by extension, mortgage activity – in Rhode Island closed out the last full month of summer in style, with purchase volume reaching levels that haven't been witnessed in a decade, according to newly released residential real estate data.

In the Ocean State, single-family home sales rose nearly 24 percent on a year-over-year basis, The Warren Group reported. More specifically, roughly 930 houses were purchased during the 31-day period versus 750 in 2014. That puts this year's pace of sales in Rhode Island nearly 16 percent ahead of how many properties were sold through two-thirds of 2014.

Timothy Warren, Jr., The Warren Group CEO, noted that this flourish of activity removed any lasting vestiges of this past winter, when heavy snowfall made home sales few and far between.

"August's numbers are the result of a strong, long-lasting spring season and are an improvement over the sluggish start to the year," Warren said. "A rough winter and pent-up demand turned into a strong spring that is a positive sign for the real estate market throughout the state."

Median prices react to bustling demand
The surge in demand sent median home prices higher. The typical single-family residence in Rhode Island this past August sold for a median of $220,000, up 7.5 percent from year-ago levels when the median was $218,000. Similarly, condo prices also climbed, fueled by a growth in transactions. The median selling price for a condominium in the country's smallest state by area was just over $196,000, approximately 15 percent higher than August 2014's median of $170,000.

Residential real estate activity in Rhode Island closed out the warmest period of the year similar to the way in which it began. In June, single-family home purchases rose over 22 percent from the same period last year, according The Warren Group's separate monthly sales report. However, median prices dropped to $232,000 from $238,000 during the same month in 2014.

Real estate experts attribute the growth in buying to mortgage rates remaining in affordable territory. According to Freddie Mac's most recent, Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for the week ending Oct. 8 averaged 3.7 percent, down from 4.1 percent during the corresponding seven-day period last year.

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