Watch Hill RI Real Estate and Rental Information
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Real Estate Sales Information from the Past 12-Months for the Watch Hill Fire District
and the Avondale Area*
Seventeen (17) Single Family Home Sales in the past 12-months (December 1, 2019 through December 1, 2020)
Average 3,204 Sq.Ft. (above ground) Living Area
Average 4 Bedrooms and 3 Full-baths
Average 48,861 Sq.Ft. Lot Size
Average $853.97/Sq.Ft. Selling Price
High: $2,138.16/SqFt for '20 Westerly Road'
Low: $ 332.36/SqFt for '23 Shore Road.'
* Last Updated: December 4th, 2020. All information taken from RI Association of REALTORS & State-Wide Multiple Listing Service data. Please note that this data changes daily as new sales fall into the timeline and older sales fall out. The above data is valid for the dates given.
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Watch Hill sits at the most southwestern point of Rhode Island on a stubby peninsula jutting into Block Island Sound. It includes a smaller peninsula known as Napatree Point, a 1.5-mile (2.4 km)-long sandy spit that extends west from the Watch Hill business district, and Sandy Point, which was once attached to Napatree Point. Both Napatree and Sandy Point shelter Little Narragansett Bay have made Watch Hill a popular harbor around which the business district has grown. Watch Hill is a two-hour drive from Boston and a three-hour drive from New York City. On clear days, there are views of Montauk, New York.
According to The New York Times, Watch Hill was historically home to "a select group of wealthy families", whose lives revolved around "golf and tennis at the Misquamicut Club, bathing and yachting at the Watch Hill Yacht Club and tea and cocktails at the Ocean House and Watch Hill's other grand hotels." Wealthy families built sprawling Victorian-style "cottages" along the peninsula. The village was known as "a somewhat staid and family-oriented community compared to glittering Newport, Rhode Island's other, more famous summer colony." Famous guests to the seaside resort included Albert Einstein, Douglas Fairbanks, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Groucho Marx, David Niven and Jean Harlow. The writer Stephen Birmingham described Watch Hill as "an Andorra of Victoriana on the New England shore."
In the 1980s and 1990s, many of Watch Hill's expensive Victorian mansions were sold. They had been owned by the same families for generations but there was no longer sufficient cash flow to maintain the sprawling properties. The vibrant real estate market opened up the area to a new class of buyers who found Watch Hill "affordable compared with the Hamptons". These new occupiers are considered "more cosmopolitan than the families of old and less dependent on the private clubs for their social scene". Today, Bay Street in Watch Hill is lined with shops, restaurants, and businesses. East Beach and Napatree Point are the main beaches in the village. The community is a secluded and seasonal resort community with shopping, a golf and beach club, yacht club and beautiful public and private beaches.
The New York Times notes that "Watch Hill impresses visitors with a strong sense of privacy and of discreetly used wealth - the rambling, old-fashioned, turreted and gingerbreaded Victorian summer houses with piazzas and softly rolling lawns have little in common with the overpowering castles of the very rich in Newport, a place rarely mentioned in Watch Hill even though it is barely 30 miles distant."
The waterfront was once lined with huge Victorian hotels. However, fire and hurricanes destroyed almost all during the 20th century. The two remaining hotels, The Ocean House and the Watch Hill Inn, went through major renovations during the 2000s. The Ocean House was originally opened in 1868, torn down in 2005, rebuilt and reopened in 2010. This Ocean House today consists of both hotel rooms and condominiums. It is the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotel in Rhode Island and has been described by The New York Times as a place which "conjures up another age, when women wore white gloves to tea and golf was a newfangled pastime." Celebrities including Hugh Jackman and Regis Philbin have holidayed at the hotel.
Renting in Watch Hill:
As with many second-home communities, many people will choose to rent for a summer or two to before committing to buying a home. Watch Hill offers many rental options, from condominiums in the Village to beachfront 'cottages', and these all offer a great way to "get to know" the area and your prospective neighbors!
If you would like to know more about the Watch Hill rental properties, please click on the button below.