2012-06-28 / News

Realtors optimistic about summer sales

Median-sales price for homes are up 19 percent
BY ROSEANNE PAWELEC

Jamestown’s real-estate market is showing healthy signs of recovery with the pulse of market activity strengthening as we enter the busy summer home-buying season.

In the first quarter of 2012, there were 11 total sales, compared to 10 last year. More significant was the median-sales price that rose more than 19 percent using the same comparison, from $385,000 to $460,000.

During the week of June 10, the Newport County Board of Realtors indicated there were 86 properties for sale in Jamestown. The highest priced home at $7.7 million is 7,500 square feet with eight bedrooms and eight baths. The lowest priced, at $249,000, is 720 square feet with one bedroom and bath.

“Our office is very busy,” said Gloria Kurz, principal broker of Mansions & Manors. “We are seeing people re-enter the marketplace who have been looking off and on for a couple of years.”

Kurz believes it’s the combination of prices and extraordinarily attractive interest rates for those buyers needing mortgages, driving many to get off the home-buying fence. She points to a resurgence in one particular segment of the market as being especially signifi- cant.

“Last year at this time, 70 percent of the home sales through June 15 were under $500,000,” Kurz said. “This year, only 52 percent were under $500,000, so for essentially the same number of houses sold, what we’re seeing is an increase in prices, particularly in the $500,000 to $1 million range.”

Dave Martin, president of Stearns Farm, says there is a natural pent-up demand out there because activity was so slow for so long due to the economy. He’s not surprised that prices would creep up in the summer, especially in a community such as Jamestown.

“It seems like people have a natural tendency to become a little more active and interested in buying, and of course the sellers recognize that and try to capitalize on that as well as they can.”

Days on the market remained high for some Jamestown properties, and actually increased from an average of 235 days from 173 when comparing the first quarter of this year with the first quarter of 2011.

“If they’re reasonably priced in the market, if they’re within the proper range, they’ll sell,” said Martin. “But people who want infl ated prices are going to probably still have to hang on for a little longer.”

Bob Bailey of Lila Delman Real Estate agrees that sales activity has been increasing in recent weeks now that proms, graduations and the first round of weddings are behind us. He says the true health of Jamestown’s real-estate market this year will be best gauged in the third quarter.

“Statistically the third quarter usually results in the numbers of the largest amount, which typically means that the contracts were actually signed in June and July, [but] close in the third quarter.”

Traditionally, more homes hit the market in the coming weeks as landlords weigh the pros and cons of selling, Bailey noted. He said once the winter tenants vacate the properties in the last week of June, its up to the owner to either put the property on the market or rent it for the summer.

Ginny Pritchett, broker owner of Island Realty, recently put a home on Sail Street in Jamestown Shores on the market at 4:40 on a Thursday afternoon. She saw it come under contract the following Tuesday.

“Every house sells as long as the house is priced appropriately and it certainly helps to not have a lot of questions about the interior,” she said.

Pritchett says this sale and several recent sales in the village are indicative of the growing trend of buyers snapping up homes in updated condition.

“The expectations are clear what people are looking for.”

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