Local real estate market on fire

Local real estate market on fire

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last March, bringing much of Rhode Island’s economy to a sudden halt, Paul Leys, co-owner of Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty in Newport, feared for the company.

“I was afraid I would never sell any other real estate,” he says.

But today, he looks at 2020 in a much different light. Not only has he sold more properties, he’s never seen such a hot market in 32 years in the real estate industry. “This is going to be a banner year for our company,” he said. “We’ve already surpassed our target for this year, and it’s really only a 10-month year because we sold next to nothing in March and April. Everyone says we are living in unprecedented times, and this is true for the real estate market. “

Allen Gammons, owner of Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate in Newport, echoes Leys’ words. He has been selling real estate for 28 years and says he has only seen two other sellers’ markets comparable to what is happening now. “But this one bears no resemblance to the other two, because it’s at all ends of the market,” he said. “Usually it’s at one end or the other.”

Of course, a seller’s market often results in higher prices, stiff competition for properties, and reduced inventory. “Buyers have to be ready to pounce,” said realtor Bob Bailey of Lila Delman Real Estate in Jamestown. “The days when a property is on the market have shrunk considerably.”

The average number of days a property has been on the market has dropped from 250 in May to 156 this month. Many homeowners who were unable to sell last summer put their homes back on the market and found success at a higher price.

“Homes that weren’t selling last year are definitely selling now,” said Leslie Hogan of Hogan Associates in Newport. “The houses that lingered last year are nicer because there is a lot less to choose from and people really want to be here.”

Gammons recently listed a property in North Kingstown for $ 420,000. In two days, he received 23 astounding offers. It sold for $ 460,000. He also made a sale of $ 1.3 million to a buyer who has never set foot inside the house. “He was out of the country and bought it without seeing it. He was afraid to miss it, ”he said.

“I shake my head at some sales,” he added.

Likewise, Leys listed a house in the range of $ 800,000 that sold quickly for over a million dollars, and within days he had eight bids on another property listed at $ 799,000. . Another of his clients failed to secure a condominium on Bellevue Avenue after the seller received six offers in just 48 hours of putting the property on the market.

“In May, the tap turned on and it didn’t stop,” he said. “There are several offers, with people going over the asking price. Buyers have to come up with their best deal first time or they will lose the property. “

When Gammons bought his own home in Newport in August, he won five more deals. “There are very few sectors of our economy that have prospered during this pandemic,” he said. “The stock market is one; real estate is the other.

Hogan has also seen more consumers buying and building homes. At Sea Spray Estates in Portsmouth, she recently listed six lots which were agreed almost immediately. “I have also seen renewed interest in Sakonnet Bluffs, where HGTV is building its [annual] dream house this year, ”she says.

Not surprisingly, stocks are extremely low. At Lila Delman, sales are up 20%, but stocks are down 75%. Normally, Bailey …

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