I like to house shop just for fun, not because we are necessarily ever going to move again. I find it interesting. But rather than look at houses for how tony they are or whether they have an “updated” kitchen, I like to look at houses as signs of the economy. And my house of the week for interesting sign of the weak local housing market is this one at 1143 Narraganset Boulevard in Cranston. According to Zillow.com, this house just sold in August 2007 for $423,000. Now it is on the market for $259,000. If you type in anti-spam word on the Zillow page, you can see the sales history and also learn that on 04/04/06, it sold for $520,000 — more than twice what it’s on the market for now. You can also learn that on 11/29/2004, it sold for $480,000. That’s right. And now it’s on the market for $259,000. It needs a new roof and it’s in foreclosure.
It’s a nice-looking house, though — beautiful stone facade on the lower level, and a spacious refinished wraparound porch. And seems like quite a bargan for $259,000, though the taxes are based on a much higher assessed value — $4,931 for the year according to the Projo ad. But this is no market to be taking chances or trying to flip real estate. You’d have to really want to live there.