Sold in Belmont: Did Location Unfairly Depress Oak Street Bungalow?

A weekly recap of residential properties bought in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

 16-18 Dalton Road. Framed two-family (1920) Sold: $938,000. Listed at $895,000. Living area: 3,790 sq.-ft. 15 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 83 days.

 4 Oak St. Early Bungalow (1899), Sold for: $661,000. Listed at $849,900. Living area: 1,9 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 321 days.

The house on the corner of Oak Street and Concord Avenue is likely one of the earliest examples of a bungalow-style residence in these parts. The popularity of the design didn’t begin to take hold around the country for at least a decade after this single family was built in 1899, just a couple of years after the road was laid out. With a little more digging, the Oak Street structure could discover that it has architectural, historical significance.

Despite its age, it appears to have held up well – there’s an active television antenna on the roof – with many of the rooms retaining beautiful wood and plaster ornamentation, especially the dining room with the original lower decor molding. It was last sold in 1988 for what was then close to the average value of a Belmont house.

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Despite having a lot going for it, especially for a young family seeking a Belmont address, the owner could not give this house away. Trotted out for last year’s spring selling season, this 115-year-old house soon resembled the Tom Petty song: “Free Fallin’.”

Original: 3/13/2014: $849,900

4/1/2014: $819,900

4/23/2014: $799,900

5/14/2014: $779,900

6/19/2014: $759,900

7/9/2014: $749,900

8/6/2014: $699,900

Sold: $661,000.

Sure, the initial listing price was ambitious – the town assesses the property at $747,000 – but despite the demand for housing in and around the median price of residential property in the “Town of Homes,” this bungalow only found its floor after losing a quarter of the proposed sale price. That’s a free fall.

Is it that 1,900 square feet isn’t enough livable space anymore? The lack of a large backyard? Being too close to the High School? Or was it that twice each weekday, Concord Avenue is filled with a boatload of vehicles cutting through town for the outer suburbs? Whatever the reason, this early bungalow was bought cheaply.

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Comments

  1. Dave says

    interesting article – goes to show that the price of a home is not easy to determine nor achieve, especially in today’s fluid market conditions. Best of luck to both the buyer and seller.

    • says

      The house is a bungalow, as noted in the Belmont assessor’s records. Dutch colonials didn’t enter these parts until about 10 years after the house at 4 Oak was built. A Dutch Colonial Revival is best known for its broad gambrel roof with flaring eaves that extend over the long sides. The Oak house roof line is straight and has the characteristic inset dormer window of the bungalow.

  2. Pat Killen says

    Too bad more research wasn’t completed by the author. What is an active television antenna? Why is a house that is a 2 family with more square footage being compared to an older smaller house on a main road? Is it common sense that the 2 family tucked away will bring more money?

    Maybe the author can explain the point of the article.

    • says

      The article is not to compare the two houses that sold last week. It is to point out a house such as the bungalow on Oak may have seen its sales price unfairly impacted by the increase in cross-town traffic along Concord Avenue. I wasn’t attempting to contrast the two.

      • Pat Killen says

        A house located on any street that is a main street is going to be impacted by traffic. That’s is a common sense conclusion. As we all know it’s all about location.
        Finally the Concord Ave traffic is commuter traffic, people cutting through the town to get to Cambridge.

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