Founded in the mid-1600s, Providence is one of the oldest cities in the United States. If you’re looking for a city with a quaint New England vibe that still manages to keep up with the times, then Providence is a good fit for you. Thoughtfully planned urban areas mix beautifully with the original infrastructure and architecture of Colonial America.
Although Providence is a densely populated city, it has a real small-town feel. Without a doubt, the capital of Rhode Island goes above and beyond expectations. In this blog, we’ll delve into what makes it a great place to live, some things to do, the current housing market, and how to find a great Realtor® to help you invest in real estate in Providence, RI
Providence is a culturally diverse metro area home to young professionals and artists, characterized by a quaint New England vibe. The city has a budding economy fueled by the health care, education, tourism, and financial sectors.
Over the past several decades, Providence has undergone a dramatic facelift following a period of industrial decline. Providence’s renaissance is now evident throughout the metro area, from the carefully restored urban landscape of downtown to the hip coffee shops and thriving community gardens of the trendy West End.
In recent years, this renaissance has helped foster an exceptional culinary scene, numerous arts venues, and thoughtfully planned urban spaces throughout the city center. Factor in the presence of top-notch institutions like Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as proximity to some of New England’s most beautiful beaches, and you’ll see what makes Providence an appealing place to live.
Local Spotlight: Olivia Culpo
A small-town girl from the smallest state won the biggest prize in the Universe – In 2012, Olivia Culpo not only won the first pageant she ever entered and was crowned Miss Rhode Island, but she also went on to win the Miss USA pageant later that year. She further shocked the world by representing the smallest state and winning the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant, becoming only the 8th US representative and the first Rhode Islander to win the title.
Close-knit communities in the metro area’s various neighborhoods – the artsy 20- and 30-somethings of the West Side, the families of the East Side, or the students on College Hill – are just some of many reasons people find it easy to call Providence home.
One thing Providence has in spades is history. Given that it was founded in 1636, there are several centuries worth of living history for residents to explore. Having been a major player in the Revolutionary War and Industrial Revolution, the city has dedicated a significant amount of resources to preserving its historical past. History buffs are sure to fall in love with Providence!
Residents who have relocated from big cities where owning a car isn’t always necessary are pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get around Providence. Owning a car is great, but public transportation in Providence is easy and affordable.
Some Things to Do in Providence
Rhode Island’s capital might seem like a small city, but it has big offerings. With interesting local history, a growing job market, and tons of fun things to do, you’ll love living in Providence. There are too many things to do to cover in a single blog, possibly so we’ll highlight a few.
The city is full of outdoor recreation opportunities! Some fun ways to spend the day are:
- Visit the enormous Roger Williams Park—named after the founder of Rhode Island—where you can spend time in the Botanical Center, take a swan paddle boat out on the water, go hiking or biking on the trails, or stop by the Museum of Natural History & Planetarium
- Check out Roger Williams Park Zoo, home to more than 160 animal species!
- Go jogging, walk your furry friend, or take the kids to play at one of Providence’s many neighborhood parks
To learn more about this New England city and its beginnings, you can:
- Tour the Victorian-styled Lippitt House, home to the textile manufacturer and Governor Henry Lippitt
- Visit John Brown House Museum to see 18th-century furniture and hear more about revolutionary figure John Brown
- Check out The Stephen Hopkins House on historic Benefit Street, which was once the home of Declaration of Independence signer Stephen Hopkins
- Take self-guided walking tours through the city’s districts
- Take a stroll through Swan Point Cemetery, a 200-acre garden cemetery established in 1846 on the National Register of Historic Sites.
Local Spotlight: H.P. Lovecraft
The infamous, critically acclaimed horror writer and creator of the Necronomicon and the Cthulhu Mythos was a Providence native. He has a humble grave inside the expansive Swan Point Cemetery, featuring the inscription, “I am Providence.”
Visit “Little Italy,” aka “The Hill”
Located in the heart of Providence is Federal Hill—also known as RI’s own Little Italy—which has a rich Italian-American culture that started in the early 1900s and continues today. Along Atwells Avenue, you can find bakeries, coffee shops, food markets, boutiques, and some of the best Italian restaurants in the state. For a true taste of Italy, don’t miss the iconic Venda Ravioli, an Italian food emporium located in the heart of Federal Hill, where you can get authentic, made-from-scratch pasta, imported Italian cheeses, sauces, and other fine Italian foods, plus a full restaurant and catering menu. Buon Appetito!
No matter the season, Providence has a variety of community events and annual festivals that are fun for everyone!
- From May to October, you can gather to watch more than 80 bonfires light up Waterplace Park during the internationally renowned public art installation, WaterFire
- Dress up as your favorite characters and meet some of the biggest names in voice acting, animation, and comic books at Rhode Island Comic-Con
- Enjoy live music, food vendors, dancing, and more at PVD Fest, a four-day summer festival in June that takes over the city
- Or get tickets for the whole family to see more than 200 films at Providence Children’s Film Festival
Providence might be a smaller East Coast city, but its food scene is second to none! You can:
- Start your morning off at West Side Diner with Hash and Eggs or Stuffed Banana Berry French Toast
- Pop into East Side Pockets for a Falafel Wrap or Gyro
- Make a dinner reservation at world-class restaurants like Waterman Grille, Al Forno, Los Andes, or Gracie’s
- Pick up a hot sandwich like the Havana or a cold sandwich like The Indy from Hudson Street Deli.
- Get Asian vegan dishes like Kung Pao Eggplant, General Tso’s Soy Protein, or Malaysian Curry Stew at Veggie Fun
- Schedule date night at Cafe Nuovo, where you can get Crab Risotto or Diver Sea Scallops with a bottle of wine
Wow, that’s a lot to do, and we only scratched the surface! By now, you must be curious about Providence’s housing market. So let’s get to it!
The Providence, RI Housing Market
Real Estate in Providence, RI is very competitive. Homes on the market in Providence typically receive five offers on average and sell in around 13 days. The average home sale price in Providence was $375K last month, up 13.6% since last year. The average sale price per square foot in Providence is $181, up 27.0% since last year.
Housing inventories have been declining for months, and interest rates have been rising, making it harder than ever for buyers to find a home. R.I. Association of Realtors President Agueda Del Borgo recently said, “We have the lowest inventory since we have been keeping records, and it’s really challenging for buyers.”
The good news for those who currently want to sell a home in Rhode Island is that if it’s priced right, it won’t take that long. In February, the average time for a house to be on the market was 39 days.
On the flip side, for anyone who wants to find something to buy, it’s slightly more challenging.
“There are more buyers on the market than ever before, and additionally, we have the lowest inventory. It’s definitely a seller’s market,” Borgo explained.
Finding the Right Real Estate Agent
Considering how tight the market is right now, it’s more important than ever to work with a great real estate agent to find the perfect real estate in Providence, RI. But how do you find the right one? Here are some tips.
Get Referrals From Friends and Family
Ask people in your network if they can recommend a real estate agent with whom they’ve had a good experience. Ideally, you want someone with experience working with clients similar to you. Look for an agent who’s a Realtor. That means they’re a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and have formally agreed to abide by the group’s code of ethics.
Research Potential Candidates
Start by examining an agent’s website and social media accounts. Take a look at their online reviews, as well. Don’t worry about one or two negative reviews among many positive reviews, but more than that could be a red flag. Be sure to check with your state’s real estate regulator to determine whether an agent has any disciplinary actions.
Interview Prospective Agents
This is your opportunity to understand the agent’s style and experience. Ultimately, you’re looking for someone who is familiar with a particular area and understands your budget and needs. Interviews also give you a chance to find out the agent’s preferred method of communication and their availability.
Request References — and Check Them
Ask agents you’re considering to provide information on homes they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information for at least a few recent clients. Call those clients to find out their experience. Ask whether they’d hire that agent again for their next real estate transaction.
Go With Your Gut
Just as important as the knowledge and experience an agent brings is their ability to guide you smoothly through the process. Above all, go with an agent you trust and will feel comfortable with if the road to closing gets a little bumpy.
In summary, Providence is a pretty great place to live. With its rich history, spotlight on education, and central location, Rhode Island’s capital has a lot to offer new residents.
In today’s hyper-competitive housing market, the right real estate agent really makes a difference. You want someone you trust and feel comfortable with who can navigate through the process with your best interests in mind. The more experienced a buyer’s agent is with a certain area, especially with real estate in Providence, RI, the more likely they can guide you toward the right property for the right price.
The Spectrum Real Estate Consultants Team is the top producing team of Realtors at Keller Williams Realty Leading Edge, completing over 900 successful transactions since 2015. Our mission is to provide our clients with world-class service while simplifying the Real Estate transaction through experience, technology, and effective communication.
Our team members are licensed and serve their local communities. Like our valued clients, we own, renovate and manage properties throughout these markets, allowing us to truly understand the process, challenges, and benefits of real estate ownership. Our knowledge and professional experience allow us to identify opportunities and prevent unnecessary setbacks, saving you time, money, and frustration. So, if you’re ready to invest in real estate in Providence, RI, let’s connect!