September 25th, 2014
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logoEarly forecasts for a colder than normal winter and rising energy prices don’t have to mean higher utility bills. National Grid’s EnergyWise program offers Rhode Island home owners of 1-4 family homes free energy evaluations and if you qualify, will pay a percentage of the work needed.

This week we had Jack Capobianco from RISE Engineering to talk about this great resource. RISE Engineering is National Grid’s partner in this program and has been providing leading-edge energy reduction strategies for three decades, helping over 200,000 residential customers to date.  Last year I had an energy audit at my house and I am amazed at the amount of money I save now thanks to their recommendations.

It starts with a phone call to RISE at 800.422.5365. An energy specialist will come to your home and do an evaluation of your heating system, appliances, lighting, hot water heater and air conditioning. At the end of the evaluation you will receive a printed report on your homes energy efficiency. RISE can also help you with various rebates, incentives, and tax credits that can help reduce the cost of these improvements.

 

This week’s Real Estate Insight: 

From saving the planet to saving money, making your home more energy efficient pays off in many different ways.  According to a study  by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s  Center for Community Capital, The odds of a mortgage default on an Energy Star-rated home are 1/3 lower than for a home without the rating, and the National Association of Realtors reports 85% of buyers  say heating and cooling costs were important, and 68%  want energy efficient appliances.

 

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March 27th, 2014
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Uncertainty surrounding the federal flood insurance program and the unusually harsh winter has finally taken its toll on home sales in Rhode Island, bringing to an end 16 months of consecutive increases that started in September of 2012.  The decline was slight and most agree we will be seeing healthy sales as we head into spring.

The latest figures from The Rhode Island Association of Realtors show single-family home sales fell 5% in February over the same period last year.  421 houses sold last month, down from 442 in 2013, as the median price fell 2% to $185,000.  Slower sales, and increasing inventory has tipped the market slightly in favor of buyers, with about a 10 month supply of single family homes for sale in February, compared to six months in December.  Six months is considered a market balanced between seller and buyer demand.

Multifamily building sales rose 5 % in February over 2013. 83 multifamily properties sold last month compared with 79 sales last year, while prices rose a whopping 45% from last year to $139,000. Investors often drive the multi- family sales, so these numbers bode well for the market in general as private buyers often follow investor’s leads.

The condominium market saw sales fall 12% year over year with 74 units sold compared with 84 last year as the median sale price dropped 4% to $185,000.  Statewide, the number of condos for sale dropped 14% last month which could help to drive prices up, as demand increases.

This week’s Real Estate Insight:

While many forces helped to stall sales last month, we show signs of a healthy spring market. The lagging numbers in February come after a 12% increase in single-family sales in January with an 11%  increase in prices, placing Rhode Island  8th among the 10 states with the largest increases in January according to the Black Knight Home Price Index.

 

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March 4th, 2014
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This week, Steve and I were in the studio with my good friend Pat Moran, Development Chair of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC) and joined on the phone  by the Executive Director Cliff Wood and developer Chris Marsella to talk about this exciting project.

Downtown Providence’s central plaza has drawn many visitors through the years. In 1917, The Great Houdini performed his magic in the plaza for thousands of people. The Plaza was re-named “Kennedy Plaza” after then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a speech in front of more than 60,000 people. For the longest time the plaza was host to many seedy activities including public drunkenness, drugs, and robberies. While the city has managed to cut down on crime in recent years, it is far from the vibrant urban hub the DPPC envisions.

The Conservancy’s plan, working with property owners, city, state and business leaders to improve the area and create a public-private partnership to maintain it, is patterned on similar partnerships in other cities such as Bryant Park in New York. The new pedestrian-friendly Kennedy Plaza will aid in the city’s efforts to retain existing businesses and attract new industries to downtown, inciting increased economic activity by drawing people to the center of downtown.

 

This week’s Real Estate Insight:

Be a part of this great project. On Tuesday March 11th, the DPPC will be hosting a fundraiser at the Flatbread Company, 161 Cushing Street in Providence (where Adesso used to be) to benefit the transformation of Greater Kennedy Plaza. Between 6 and 8 pm, enjoy live music, raffles, a Revival Beer tasting, drink specials and more.

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