Realtors: Out-of-staters flocking to buy homes in Rhode Island

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders aren’t the only ones who want to live in Rhode Island these days.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that the number of out-of-state residents buying homes in the state jumped 69% during the second quarter compared with the same period last year, amid an ongoing boom in the housing market.

“The secret is out,” Leann D’Ettore, president of the Realtors, said in a news release. “Rhode Island has been discovered in the past year by those looking for a haven away from the city.”

The Realtors’ data shows out-of-state buyers made up 26% of total sales of single-family homes, multifamily homes and condominiums between April and June, compared with 21% in the spring of 2020, when the market was partly frozen by the early months of the pandemic.

Leading the second-quarter list among states were 590 buyers from Massachusetts, up from 369 last year. Connecticut was next with 128 buyers, up from 68, followed by New York, which rose from 59 buyers to 103. Buyers from California (50) and Florida (47) ranked fourth and fifth.

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Source: R.I. Association of Realtors

The rise in out-of-state interest was even more pronounced in the luxury market, defined as homes sold for $1 million or more. Out-of-state buyers made up 47% of luxury buyers, with their total number of transactions quadrupling to 202 compared with 49 a year ago.

Little Compton, Charlestown, Jamestown and Newport all saw their total number of home transactions and their median sales prices rise markedly.

Local real-estate firms are marketing Rhode Island far and wide. Lila Delman, a leading firm in the luxury market, bought an advertisement in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that touted seven high-end properties, including newly reduced prices on a $33 million estate for sale on Ocean Avenue in Newport and a $7.5 million home on Carnegie Harbor Drive in Portsmouth.

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Source: R.I. Association of Realtors

The surge of interest in Rhode Island as a comparatively affordable option in the pricey Northeast has triggered an eye-watering increase in home prices across much of the state. The median single-family home jumped 23% to $369,450 in the second quarter of 2021 versus 2020.

“Our housing market has been an economic boon throughout most of the pandemic but the increased demand for our housing stock is taking a toll,” D’Ettore said. “Rhode Islanders are having a hard time competing for homes with other buyers, including those from out-of-state, who often come here with cash in hand.”

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

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