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Realtors in East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, and Cranston, Rhode Island are reporting terrific increases in home prices over the past year, with anticipation that the rise will continue in the spring.

East Greenwich and North Kingstown

"East Greenwich and North Kingstown are a wonderful mix of historic homes overlooking harbors in areas like Hill and Harbor and Wickford Village," says Realtor Steve Gillikin, "and new homes in exclusive developments in the western part. East Greenwich borders Cowesett, a section of Warwick, also very exclusive to the north, and North Kingstown to the south. It has a charming Main Street with shops and restaurants. You can walk to the waterfront with its indoor and outdoor waterfront restaurants and night spots."

About the market, Gillikin says, "Homes are not selling nearly as quickly as they were a few months ago. Not that there still isn't demand -- it's mostly because the asking prices on average are now almost 40 percent over the average selling price in most locations. Even though on average selling prices are up about 20 percent to 25 percent in Rhode Island from last year, the asking prices are up more than 60 percent from last year.

"In the southern communities of East Greenwich and North Kingstown," he explains, "right now there are 145 listings with an average asking price of $712,000. These listings have been on the market an average 110 days. There are 82 pending sales under contract with an average asking price at the time of the sales contract $530,000. Almost $200,000 under the average list price of those not sold. Those pending sales have been on the market an average 81 days. Finally, there have been 529 closed sales so far this year with an average selling price of $419,000 and on the market an average of 66 days until a contract was signed. That is a huge gap of almost $300,000 between average asking prices and average selling prices. Average selling prices are up in North Kingstown only 4.8 percent over last year and have actually dropped 2.3 percent in East Greenwich. This is the lowest in Rhode Island and East Greenwich is the only town where selling prices dropped. The inventory of available homes for sale is increasing and many buyers are pulling out of the market for now because they just can't afford it or are just plain refusing to pay the high asking prices of some sellers.Buyers were having a tough time finding a decent home at a price they could afford. Some have been looking for over a year. Good single family homes priced under $250,000 are almost nonexistent. Even multi-family homes that just two years ago were selling for $120,000 are now on the market for more than double that price. In most cases, neither rents nor buyers income have remotely kept up with the asking prices and with a rise in interest rates, more and more buyers are driven out of the market. These days, serious sellers have been reducing their initial asking price and the not so serious sellers are just taking their homes off the market. Homes are staying on the market on average 60 days compared to about 30 back in June. This also is reflective of those high initial asking prices."

Gillikin advises, "In my opinion, prices have reached a peak. Home prices are getting out of reach of average Rhode Islanders' personal income. Prices can't really just keep going up and up in Rhode Island. Lenders are having a hard time justifying some selling prices with appraisals and more and more sales are falling out due to low appraisals. I've seen a larger number of homes withdrawn off the market in the last month than I've seen all year. This is a reflection of sellers realizing they will not get their high price anymore and never really had any real motivation to sell other than to believe they would cash in."

South Kingstown

South Kingstown is visually pretty and close to the beaches, says Realtor Sally Corbin. "Wakefield is the center of the town and offers a new neighbors group, galleries, restaurants and shopping. Antique homes as well as new developments continue to be built in this community. It also has a strong school system. The value of single-family homes continues to grow, last year they went up on an average of 20 percent. The average price for a house is approximately $320,000."

Cranston

"Cranston is a city and is defined by sections," suggests Corbin, "as opposed to saying 'Cranston' (if you are a Rhode Islander). Single-family homes were up by 19 percent, multi-family by 35 percent and condos by 25 percent. These increases represent business in 2003 from January to thru Sept. (Last quarter sales are not in yet). Average price of a home in Cranston is $188,750. The location of Cranston, access to highways and proximity to Providence and the airport make this an East Side alternative."

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