Martyrs is Hoppin'

Posted by Dave Fratello on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 4:13am.

Some of the most eye-popping recent sales have come in the Tree Section's cherished Martyrs hill area. The west-facing slope, which often draws ocean views (yes, from the Trees), draws top dollar, as we'll see.



533 15th (6br/6ba, 5300 sq. ft.) is simply one of the greatest homes in MB, or at least it must be if it could draw this kind of rave from MBC:

[This home] could give a pulse to a dead man, bring songs to the lips of a cynic, or, for most of the rest of us, will just elicit "oohs," "ahhhs" and dropped jaws.

It's a giant, crisp, ocean-view beach house benefiting from a huge (7700 sq. ft.) lot on Martyrs Hill. (Built 2004.)
That was from our late-April review as the home was on the market at $5.350m. That was over $1,000/PSF, nearly twice what you'd see in a typical Tree Section listing and more like a beach-adjacent price. Such are the benefits to a monster, must-have house.

It seems like a modest concession, in the scheme of things, that the sellers lopped $650k off their stratospheric asking price to make a deal. The closing at $4.7m recently sets a high water mark for values in the area – even for Martyrs. (Final PPSF for those of you keeping score: $887/PSF.)

It's just almost unthinkable, but it was what the sellers insisted on if they were going to turn over the keys. And someone really wanted those keys.

By way of reference, new homes on the same block of 15th sold in 2007 and 2008 for $4.2m each (604 and 608 15th), with PPSFs of $850-$880/PSF, while the highest sale price we find in the Trees since January 2007 is $4.4m for 850 18th, a big (6br/6ba, 5950 sq. ft.), newer Spanish that was off the hill and obviously had no views, though it does have a big lot (8000 sq. ft.).


523 14th (5br/6ba, 5100 sq. ft.) is another 500-block dream house that drew raves, this time from Mrs. MBC in a guest post when MBW was flattened out in mid-Summer. The Mrs. called it:

about as sweet as it gets in the Martyrs neighborhood – an enormous house that takes advantage of hilltop ocean views without being too far from the beach itself... It’s got some originality to it with a nice balance of modern features and a traditional Cape Cod style.
Mrs. MBC also noted in her review (from mid-July) that "[u]pstairs, a well-designed layout gives each of the four bedrooms gets an ocean view (or at least a peek)." You know where else we've seen multiple bedrooms with ocean views? 533 15th. And then... er...

A couple years ago, 523 14th sold reasonably soon, 93 DOM, after hitting the market in the utter, worst doldrums of the local RE market's depression sag, in June 2009. The sale closed in Sept. 2009 for $3.1m.

This year's listing sought a $300k markup, but they got $405k (+13%), with a close now at $3.505m.

That's three-point-five million, quickly, $100k above asking, and wow.

But just try to pull that kind of rabbit out of a habit off the west side of the hill.

514 17th (4br/5ba, 3975 sq. ft.) is a newer (2003) home described as "Cape Cod/Craftsman" in a flopped 2009 listing. The home sold off-market in March this year for $2.950m.

It's not the highest-priced property we're mentioning here, of course, but it's way up there – it would have crested past $3.0m with traditional real estate commissions built into the transfer price.

Sorry to say, that link above won't give you a tour of the home, which MBC called "a splendid, big and sunny Cape Cod on a great block with some real outdoor space, to boot." (That was in this "Weekend Opens" post in June 2009, when the property was listed at, achem, $3.599m.)

But we can at least talk about that block.

17th is extra-special because it ends in a cul-de-sac, which is French for "locals only."

Take an already-premier location and then block out passersby – that's a great street.

616 17th (5br/4ba, 3650 sq. ft.) is another recent sale on that same great street.

The home's really different, with a style they call "French Country" (this may be a new requirement on the cul-de-sac), after a 2004 remodel. The work shows a lot of dedication to style, detail and a love of woods.

It's not a huge home, and in fact some of the bedrooms felt small, but they nonetheless began within spitting distance of $3m at $2.775m. That would be location talking. (Mainly. It's a terrific house with a sizable yard.)

If the price dropped 13% (it did) before a sale was made, that $2.425m final deal remained impressive.

Take the home off the hill, off the cul-de-sac, shrink the yard a bit, and you're lucky for a sale like this elsewhere in the Trees to go above $2.1m.

Also, not to be ignored among other Martyrs-area sales this year:
  • 642 14th (smallish, needs work, $1.639m); 
  • 513 17th (quite small house, are-you-kidding-me price with multiple bids: $1.919m); and 
  • 617 15th (lot sale, multiple offers, $1.815m).
Current active listings in the Martyrs area: 0.
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