Sold in Belmont: First Homes of 2016; Two Family and A Colonial

Photo: The first house sold in Belmont this new year: a multifamily on Trapelo Road.

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35 Audrey Rd. Colonial (1950). Sold: $835,000.

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5-7 Trapelo Rd., Barrack-style multifamily (1949). Sold: $850,000.

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

5-7 Trapelo Rd., Barrack-style multifamily (1949). Sold: $850,000. Listed at $785,000. Living area: 3,236 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 91 days. 

35 Audrey Rd. Colonial (1950). Sold: $835,000. Listed at $899,900. Living area: 2,359 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 164 days.

How appropriate the first two homes sold in Belmont in 2016 included the most popular style, a Colonial, and a multifamily, that represents nearly 40 percent of the town’s housing stock. In addition, both sold for just under the median assessed value for residential housing in 2015. 

Sold in Belmont: Belmont Hill Spec Manse Sells Below List, Assessed Value

Photo: 529 Concord Ave.

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

529 Concord Ave. Blown-out Colonial (2013). Sold: $1,960,000. Listed at $2,250,000. Living area: 4,954 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 4-full, 2-partial baths. On the market: 113 days.

78 Grove St. Townhouse condominium (1986). Sold: $590,000. Listed at $539,000. Living area: 1,452 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

The big Colonial off Concord Avenue has everything you’d want in a mansion – new construction, volumes of interior space (about 5,000 square feet), a great kitchen (with the exception of Granite countertops), red oak hardwood floors, nicely-designed bathrooms, fine landscaped grounds and, wow, what a view of Boston. 

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So why didn’t the new manse on the Hill hit the list price – selling at a quarter of a million dollar discount – and, more telling, couldn’t hold up to the town’s assessed value of $2,467,000? Especially at a time when inventory/supply is still considered low.

One reason could be there’s little to compare this structure to – new construction on previously undeveloped land. The developer likely threw out a number ($2.25 million) to see if it would attract some buyer with the need for lots of space. The construction cost was less than $700,000 so it’s not like its going to be a loss on next year’s tax form.

But who is the market for this Colonial on the Hill? If you could pluck $2 million down on a special space, why not head to the Seaport District of Boston? Or a place in Concord with its better roads? Is it trying to lure wealthy families into town? Many of those buyers won’t abandon communities where they have established roots. Or it could be that not that many people will abide the light beams from hundreds of cars traveling up the hill at night as they make the turn onto upper Concord Avenue?

Only the market knows. 

Sold in Belmont: Renovation Rescues Ranch, Sees A Nice Bounce

Photo: 104 Winter St.

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

• 104 Winter St. Brick Ranch (1950). Sold: $725,000. Listed at $735,000. Living area: 1,900 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 104 days.

There is a show on the HGTV cable channel called Renovation Realities in which DIY (do it yourself)-ers upgrades rooms in their homes using their brawn to put some needed value in their abode.

But sometimes, only a pro can do the proper job. That’s the case of the brick early ranch on Winter Street. Before a new owner put down $65,000 into the structure in 2009, the house was a dump, and a dangerous one to boot. A home inspector noted the building – which was owned by the same family for more than 50 years – had “severe structural damage” and a “very dated condition” of its interior leading the town assessors to rate the house as “very poor” with the assessed value falling below $500,000 in 2010.

The new owner – who purchased the house for $550,000 – put in replacement windows, remodeled the kitchen and both bathrooms, finished the basement as well as the necessary structural work done after 2008 sale. The assessors upgraded its ratings to “at least above average.”

And nearly six years later, photos show an inviting “new” house; polished wooden floors, an open floor plan (not very energy efficient) providing nice sight lines. The living room “area” has a great fireplace with ceramic tiles which provides a nice touch. The basement has new wood floors (but why is the stairway carpeted?) with French doors leading outside to the backyard.

But potential buyers soon realized that, while a bright space, there’s not much space; the new basement nearly doubles the livable space. In fact, the town still calculates the total space as 1,200 sq.-ft. While the seller placed a bed in the cellar, the official number of bedrooms is just a pair.

That’s why this fine space would only handle a $735,000 list price when it went on sale in early December. When no one nibbled by the New Year, down went the sales price to $719,000 in mid-January.

But unlike many Belmont houses, the drop in the listing brought people to the site. By March, there was more than just interest; buyer activity pushed the price up to $725,000.

So, spend some now, cash out later.

Good Investment: Belmont Home Values Increased 25 Percent Since ’05

Photo: A renovated bungalow at 232 Trapelo Rd

While you may have made more money in equities since 2005 – the NASDAQ has grown at about eight percent annually – your Belmont house has been a good investment. And unlike stocks, you can sleep in it. 

The average Belmont residential property has appreciated by 25 percent since 2005, a time span which included a historic economic recession in 2008 and six years of a weak recovery, according to data compiled by the Warren Group, a Boston-based real estate analysis firm. 

“Statewide, the median home price in Massachusetts peaked in 2005 at $355,000. Since then, we have seen 46 communities rebound from the crash in real estate prices and record an increase in the median selling price of homes,” said Timothy Warren Jr., the Warren Group’s CEO.

Belmont is one of the top-ten municipalities to see double-digit increases in home values since 2005, according to the report, which included neighboring communities of Lexington (35 percent jump to $950,000) and Cambridge, which led the study with a red hot 80 percent increase in single-family home values, from $667,500 in 2005 to $1.2 million in 2014. 

The current median price for a single-family home in Belmont is $847,900.

Other towns on the list include Brookline, Concord, Newton, Somerville, Winchester and the Boston neighborhoods of South Boston and Jamaica Plain.

“Proximity to good jobs seems to be the common thread among the top communities. Location matters in real estate, and here we see these key communities adding even more in terms of their home values,” said Warren. 

Sold in Belmont: Big Ranch by Little Pond (and the Uplands) Brings Seven Figures

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

• 75-77 Grove St. Two-family (1900), Sold for: $705,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 2,112 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 61 days.

• 127 Oliver Rd. Early Ranch (1945), Sold for: $1,020,000. Listed at $1,150,000. Living area: 2,911 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 76 days.

• 12 Hurley St. Ranch (1952), Sold for: $690,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 1,704 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 76 days.

While most of the million-dollar Belmont homes sold are those “with a view” – a glimpse of Boston through a grove of trees, overlooking parkland, etc. – there is a type of homes that many potential buyers may not realize are hiding in the Town of Homes: waterfront property. 

While surrounding towns have greater availability of “beach homes” – Spy Pond in Arlington, Winchester’s Upper Mystic Lake, along the Charles River – Belmont’s Little Pond provides houses for those partial being close to the water.

The Oliver Road property is interesting in that it’s one of the earliest examples of the ranch house in New England, being built as World War II ended. It’s big for a style built as being a starter house in mind, with nearly 3,000 square feet. But what really sells the property is the HUGE backyard, most of a half an acre that leads to the pond’s edge. That’s the sort of expanse you see in places out in the hinterland such as Arkansas or Minnesota where folks take the bass boat after work. (Do NOT eat the fish from Small Pond.) As you would expect, there is a large deck that overlooks the water. For their million dollars, the new owners will also get the opportunity to see the development of the 299-apartment unit Belmont Uplands housing project from their backyard. 

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Sold in Belmont: Only One House Sold This Week … But What A House

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

• 25 Rockmont Rd. Colonial “reminiscent of an English country cottage” (1928), Sold for: $2,272,500. Listed at $2,500,000. Living area: 4,499 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 166 days.

This Belmont Hill house sold for $795,000 in May, 1996 but there has been several major changes: remodel kitchen master suite and bathroom for $100,000 (1996); replace ten windows, three doors and the foundation of the bay window (1998); remodel a bathroom (1999);  finish the existing attic (2000); remodel the full bathroom on the second floor (2010); and add a study in the attic (2011).  

Sold in Belmont: Three Homes on the Roads

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

200 Rutledge Road. Garrison colonial (1936), Sold for: $1,510,000. Listed at $1,595,000. Living area: 3,608 sq.-ft. 13 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 158 days.

26 Frost Road. Garrison colonial (1940), Sold for: $860,000. Listed at $795,000. Living area: 1,767 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 68 days.

86 Juniper Road. Antique Cape (1936), Sold for: $1,495,000. Listed at $1,495,000. Living area: 3,636 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 81 days.

Sold In Belmont: 1950s Split-Level Goes for $1.25 Million

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

30 Howells Road. “Country home” Colonial (1898), Sold for: $1,173,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,091 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 33 days.

37 Thayer Road. Condominium, Sold for: $234,000. Listed at $233,900. Living area: 615 sq.-ft. 4 rooms; 1 bedrooms, 1 bath. On the market: 63 days.

32 Amherst Road. Split-level ranch (1951), Sold for: $1,250,000. Listed at $1,195,000. Living area: 2,592 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

256 School St. Tudor-style colonial (1935), Sold for: $844,000. Listed at $829,000. Living area: 2,284 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 57 days.

2 Crescent Road. Condominium, Sold for: $702,000. Listed at $687,000. Living area: 2,668 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath. On the market: 42 days.