NEWS

Out-of-state buyers like RI prices, quality of life

By JARED GUSTAFSON
Posted 8/12/21

By JARED GUSTAFSON Former Maine resident, Pete Mertz is one of many who have been lured here by the quality of life. Mertz and his wife moved to Buttonwoods in June of 2019 due to job relocation. They formerly lived just north of Portland Maine for

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NEWS

Out-of-state buyers like RI prices, quality of life

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Former Maine resident, Pete Mertz is one of many who have been lured here by the quality of life.

Mertz and his wife moved to Buttonwoods in June of 2019 due to job relocation. They formerly lived just north of Portland Maine for about two years. Since moving they have come to love the community feeling the area offers.

Mertz said, “everyone is so welcoming, our neighbors are always inviting us over for dinner and drinks.” He added that not only do the neighbors give off a community feeling but the Buttonwoods area also does. He said he feels safe in the neighborhood, and the visuals are just amazing. Mertz thinks that overall Rhode Island has a better sense of community than Maine does. Mertz also appreciates easy access to stores and restaurants.

“There is so much more coastal area here and the price is much cheaper than it would be in the Portland area for the same type of home.” When asked about the possibility of leaving the state he said, “I want to grow some roots in Rhode Island.”

Phipps Realty was the listing agent for the property that Mertz purchased, Matt Phipps is a partner at Phipps Realty. Phipps has seen the increasing trend of Rhode Island homes being purchased by out of state buyers. Phipps said a portion of people looking to buy here have family in Rhode Island or have heard of the amazing aspects that Rhode Island offers from friends.

People are now realizing all of Rhode Island’s amazing features Phipps said. Phipps said restaurants, close cities and towns, waterfront properties, seasons and the affordable price are just some of Rhode Island’s attractions. Proximity to services and amenities is another factor.

Phipps said people love that Providence and the beaches are close to every town and city. The airport and rail service are additional attractions.

Despite what Rhode Islanders may think of it, Phipps said, “lack of traffic is a pleasant surprise for the people who come here.”

Phipps and his real estate team specialize in luxury sales and have seen an increase of luxury properties being bought by out-of-state buyers. The Phipps agency sells most luxury properties in Providence, Warwick, East Greenwich, Narragansett, Newport, Little Compton, Charlestown, and Westerly. Most of these locations offer waterfront properties and close proximity to the rest of the state.

Phipps said buyers cannot find a waterfront property in Cape Cod, or Martha’s Vineyard for less than $2 million. However, in Rhode Island buyers can buy a waterfront home that offers a big yard, a garage, entertaining areas and close proximity to the rest of the state for under $2 million.

Phipps recalled two former luxury property sales. One family moved to Rhode Island from San Francisco to purchase a second home. This family was looking at apartments in San Francisco that were listed at $1.5 million, then they compared properties in Rhode Island for the same price. This family put an offer on $1.5 million on an East Greenwich home. They did not end up purchasing the home.  However, "The interesting aspect of it is that they were looking to purchase their second Rhode Island home", said Phipps. The other family moved from a one-bedroom property in Boston to the Greenwood area in Warwick. The home they bought was two or three times the size of their previous home for the same price.

Even when out-of-state home buyers bid on Rhode island property and go over the listed price they find the properties cheaper than other areas.

Phipps recalled a home that the agency sold on Granite Drive in East Greenwich. The home was put up for sale for just a fraction over a million dollars. The home sold a few months later for $1.15 million. The home had more than 30 out-of-state buyers actively looking at the house. Phipps even conducted a Face Time open house showing with potential buyers in Seattle, Texas, and California. Not only are out-of-state buyers finding luxury properties cheaper but they are also raising luxury home prices because of bidding. There was a 21 percent increase in luxury property sales in the second quarter from 2020 to 2021 according to the RI Association of Realtors.

Phipps said that the pandemic has also played an important role of luxury homes sales. “Rhode Island has become a real landing spot and partially because of now working at home.” said Phipps

He said the homebuyers he works with say they would rather be looking out to Narragansett Bay than looking out to some street for the same or cheaper price.

Phipps said “size and geographic position is a huge reason why people come here.”

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