Postage Stamp Lots That Produced Million Dollar Sales

David Bates / February 7, 2011-9:35 pm

This house on this 634 Square foot lot produced a $1.595 million sale in 2009.

It’s often said that the three most important attributes of real estate value are location, location, location. In Massachusetts, there are two locations where a small house can get a big price. The first is the city, where every square foot has value; the location that is widely considered the king of that value is the Beacon Hill section of Boston. In 2010, three single families situated on sub-700-square-foot lots garnered million-dollar-plus price tags.

One of them even occurred on a lot that public record shows as only 609 square feet. Naturally, small lots make for small houses, and while two of the homes had less than 1500 square feet, perhaps 3 Spruce Court, Beacon Hill would be the best example of a property getting the most money for the least space. Spruce Court was listed as having but 634 square feet for lot size and measured in at just 1560 square feet of living space. Yet Spruce Court was able to garner $1.595 million in sales price, $470K more than the two closest competitors referenced above. Just call Spruce Court the “Danny Woodhead of real estate value.”

The second location in Massachusetts where a small house can get a big price is the coast. A good example is 7 Atlantic Ave, Rockport — which, despite being listed as having only 1440 square feet of living space on a very city-sized lot of 1550 square feet, apparently had million dollar water views, because it sold for $1.02 million. Even a very limited space along Dartmouth’s waterfront can generate an almost unlimited price, as the million-dollar-plus sale of 5 Gosnold Ave. proved. 5 Gosnold had 1502 square feet of living space on, albeit, a lot at 18,295 square feet — sizably bigger than the postage stamp lots above.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a review of 237 homes that sold between $1 million and $1.1 million shows that although the median square footage was around 3650 square feet, a few needed living areas of almost epic proportion to help them break the million mark. The property at 5 Sadie Hutt Lane, Southborough had 9000 square feet of living space and sold for $1.085 million. If paying a paltry $120 per square foot for living space won’t get you out of the city, perhaps the nearly six acre lot, which is more than 400 times larger than some of the Beacon Hill million dollar properties, is an additional incentive. But if you were set on living closer to the city, perhaps the 8,875 square feet offered at 1362 Canton Ave., Milton would have appealed to you. It came with a 2.71 acre lot.

But if even 9000 square feet of living space isn’t enough for you (in the city or outside it), rest assured you can find bigger homes — but you’re going to pay for it. The average price of 10,000+ square foot homes that sold in the Greater Boston MLS in 2010 was more than $5.4 million.