Engel and Volkers 20231114-69

Trends, Challenges, Opportunities: Navigating Rhode Island’s Real Estate Seas – Emilio DiSpirito

By Emilio DiSpirito IV, License Partner | Private Office Advisor, Engel & Völkers East Greenwich, and Engel & Völkers Barrington East Bay

In Rhode Island, we find ourselves facing a conundrum that mirrors the challenges seen in countless communities nationwide: a dearth of available homes for eager buyers. This scarcity isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it’s a fundamental issue reshaping the landscape of our housing market and impacting the aspirations of many.

For nearly half a decade—yes, you heard correctly—Rhode Island has been navigating the fallout from a housing shortage sparked by the pandemic. Cast your mind back to a time before C-19, when the Ocean State boasted a comfortable inventory of 1,500 to 2,000 single-family homes up for grabs. However, when news of the pandemic hit, panic rippled through the community, prompting homeowners to yank their properties off the market in a bid to weather the storm.

Since then, we’ve ridden the roller coaster of market fluctuations, witnessing inventory highs hovering just over 1,000 active single-family homes during periods of soaring interest rates, like the recent spike to 8.5%. Conversely, when rates dipped to 5.99% in January of this year, a surge of buyers emerged, driving inventory to a historic low of a mere 590 single-family homes. This ebb and flow highlights the intricate dance between market dynamics and consumer behavior, painting a vivid picture of the challenges facing both buyers and sellers in Rhode Island’s real estate arena.

Hope emerges

In the midst of this housing conundrum, a glimmer of hope emerges—a surge in the number of active homes on the market and those soon to come, now totaling a robust 837 single-family properties available for Rhode Island’s eager homebuyers. This marks a staggering 45% increase in supply since the recent lows, signaling a potential shift in the tide. But what’s driving this sudden uptick, and how does it impact those navigating the real estate landscape?

Let’s roll up our sleeves and wade into the deeper waters of this phenomenon. In recent months, interest rates have surged by over 1.5%, reaching levels that have tempered the purchasing power of many prospective buyers. With inflated real estate prices and higher mortgage rates, affordability has become a pressing concern, elongating the days on the market for properties across the state. However, amidst this recalibration, the seasonal rhythms of Rhode Island’s real estate market have begun to assert themselves, offering a much-needed infusion of inventory.

Perhaps you find yourself in the enviable position of transitioning from renting to owning your first home. Despite the prevailing competitiveness of the market, there’s a silver lining to be found. While demand remains robust, it’s less frenzied than before, affording you the opportunity to snag a property with reduced competition, potentially below asking price, and with favorable contingencies intact. Yet, this window of opportunity may be fleeting, poised to close as rates inch back into the low to mid-6% range.

And what if you’re on the other side of the transaction, selling a property in today’s market? Rest assured, you’re entering the fray at a time of historically high prices. However, success hinges on meticulous preparation—cleaning, staging, decluttering, and pricing your home appropriately are paramount in maximizing its appeal to discerning buyers. For those eyeing a simultaneous sale and purchase within Rhode Island, there’s an added advantage: ample time to find your next abode, potentially at a lower cost than if rates were to decrease.

In the midst of this whirlwind, a word of caution is warranted. While it’s tempting to engage in bidding wars and waive inspections to secure a coveted property, a closer examination of the numbers reveals a more prudent path. With mortgage payments hovering close to previous levels, there’s an opportunity to negotiate for seller credits or address costly repairs, ensuring a more sound investment for the long haul.


To read more articles in RINewsToday by Emilio, go to:

Emilio DiSpirito, Realtor and License Partner, Engel & Völkers East Greenwich and Engel & Völkers Barrington East Bay, 401-359-2338 – –[email protected] – Instagram: @EVRhodeIsland – Website:

Emilio DiSpiritoIf you would have asked me what I wanted to be growing up, little Emilio would have told you “an archeologist” or “an architect” despite the fact that at age 8 I had my first lemonade stand, landscaping business and was recording my first “news show” on my boombox!  Well, I never was much good at trigonometry and did could not see myself traveling for months and possibly years at a time, so becoming an architect or archaeologist clearly did not happen!

Fast forward 26 years later and I’m running a team of the finest residential real estate professionals, own a media company and host my very own radio news show about real estate! For 7 years straight it seemed that I had put in more hours than the day had to give on my real estate business. 7 days a week, 14 to 16 hour days, without a break! Why? My friends and family did not understand the sheer magnitude of moving parts and services we offer to our clients during a transaction! One slip up or one missed call could mean make or break for someone’s dream home or even a lost deposit!

Running a team of like-minded, highly qualified and capable professionals has allowed me to offer a very streamlined, simplified and efficient approach to the sales process for our clients and allowed me to earn personal time again with my family while not missing a beat for my clients! When I’m not working, I’m with family and friends, riding my mountain bike, eating at local restaurants, enjoying live entertainment, hiking, skiing or reading!

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