Sold in Belmont: A Housing Solution on the Beech, A Premium in Bricks

Photo: 101 Beech St. 

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

9 Audrey Rd., Brick ranch (1954). Sold: $810,000. Listed at $ 775,000. Living area: 1,483 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 77 day.

29 Stults Rd. Brick Tudor (1924). Sold: $1,135,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,514 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths. On the market: 63 days.

43 Hillcrest Rd., Georgian Brick Colonial (1925). Sold: $2,225,000. Listed at $1,980,000. Living area: 4,564 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 49 days.

101 Beech St., #2, Condominium in a six-unit, self managed building (1911). Sold: $420,000. Listed at $449,900 (reduced to $424,900). Living area: 1,007 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 64 days.

27 Winthrop Rd. Colonial (1928). Sold: $1,115,000. Listed at $1,125,000. Living area: 2,211 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

11 Broad St., Late Split-level ranch (1964). Sold: $820,000. Listed at $749,000. Living area: 2,000 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath. On the market: 63 day.

29 Worcester St., #2, Condominium in two family (1916). Sold: $565,000. Listed at $539,900. Living area: 1,532 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 78 days.

5 Simmons Ave., “Old Style” Brick Storybook (1937). Sold: $945,000. Listed at $960,000. Living area: 2,589 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 63 days.

One of the major reasons the medium home price in Belmont will likely reach $900,000 by the end of 2015 is the lack of new housing supply that could satisfy the demand of people seeking to live in town. So far, with the exception of the two major projects in Belmont’s future – Cushing Village and the Belmont Uplands with approximately 414 apartment-style homes to be in the supply chain by 2020 – most new construction is oversized with an appeal towards wealthy clients.

But a recent sale in a location one called “Central Square” – the intersection of Trapelo Road and Beech Street – could be a great example of solving the sacristy of moderate-priced homes. 101 Beech and its twin next door at 105 are six-unit condominiums – a pair of singles on each floor – that use space wisely with long, narrow rooms with parking hidden in the back. While they appear at first glance to be a pair of triple deckers joined at the hip, they were constructed with the idea of sharing the building as equal units – about 16 percent of the condo is common space. Built 105 years ago, they retain some great exterior features such as the street-facing balcony that’s reminiscent of the three-story buildings lining downtown New Orleans. Photos of the inside  show great architectural detail remaining for a starter home. These buildings will never be more than what they are, the first housing purchase of someone’s life; affordable with enough space to not feel cramped. 

Now just see a long line of these buildings running along Belmont Street, Trapelo Road, near parks, in high traffic areas where young homeowners are drawn. Rather than a high density development such as Cushing Village, this design is far more welcoming for the people you want to reside in Belmont, the young – maybe even hipsters. Just think of Waverley Square with this model along the roadway rather than the squat single-story retail or those stunning horrible townhouses Edward Hovsepian built at the site of the First Congregational Church.

But would residents be willing to change zoning bylaws to allow, as of right, this sort of building to be constructed? That’s the question to be answered.

The split-level ranch at 11 Broad St. should be placed on someone’s list of historic places needing protection. It is a beautiful late, 1964, ranch built as that style house began losing its popularity. While its a bit lacking in height – my 6-foot, one-inch tall son would always be ducking entering rooms with the ceiling so low – the general sweeping layout is of a bygone era. The best feature is the bay window; rounded and huge, it dominates the front of the house.

With most Belmont homes built of wood, you sometimes loss the realization that many wonderful houses on the Hill or in the Presidents neighborhood off Washington Street made of brick. And from the prices they are receiving, it appears buyers are placing a premium on the construction material. 


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