Big Tree Lots

By Dave Fratello | January 15th, 2009
The standard Tree Section lot runs 4500-4800 square feet, which nowadays allows for a home of roughly 3200-3400 square feet on the dirt, based on city ordinances.

Here and there you can find a somewhat bigger lot, and of course that will be worth more.

Early this week new owners took possession of 1900 Laurel, a 6000-sq.-ft. corner lot, for $1.250m. The location is quiet and fairly prime, a nice site to build a dream home.

That price suggests a value of about $1m for a standard-size lot in a comparable location. True enough, some lot sales in lesser areas (active and pending) are coming in lower, while livable homes are coming in at $1m or a tick higher. (We should note that Laurel sold very quickly – 10 days – but also for a substantial discount, -$249k/-17% off of list, an unusual combination.)

Another non-standard lot option is 2900 Maple (click address for more pics & details via Redfin). This is a double-lot at 9280 sq. ft. (2 x 4640). It was purchased in Feb. 2007 by an active local builder who planned to split the lots and build 2 new homes.

The location is pretty nice if you know the area, but it is north of Valley, which would normally be a factor against.

The builder paid $2.555m, but those development plans didn't pan out. He tried to unload the double-lot this year at $2.699m, and has now gradually cut down to $2,277,777, willing to take a substantial loss. (Side note: The builder, who really could use a change in luck, has set the last two prices to end in a series of five 7's.)

This 2-lot package is now down $278k/-11% from the Feb. 2007 acquisition price. If someone does plan to split 'em, the two lots are priced at $1.138m each now. (Assuming you can do the split; the builder says he's begun the process.)

We'd guess this does not look like a deal till it gets nearer to $2m, perhaps below.

In a much lesser location near MBB, 1205 Walnut boasts an unusually large 6720 sq. ft. lot at $1.149m. That's 50% bigger than the smaller of the standard Tree Section lot sizes (4480 sq. ft.).

The current list price for Walnut works out to about $760k for a standard lot, and about $390k for the bonus land.

There's one other nonstandard lot on offer, but it's not being marketed as such. Near American Martyrs church, 633 15th is a big home (6br/4ba, 6000 sq. ft.) on a lot that's twice the norm for the immediate area at 12,500 sq. ft.

15th has been lingering since last June, when it began at $5.495m. It's now down 11% to $4.895m.

For the money, the build is not impressive. (Don't even get us started on the attached "guest house.") So it has lingered, and if it were to gradually near $4m, that could be lot value.

Nearby, on the ocean-view side of the hill on 15th, regular-size lots were worth almost exactly $2m in Summer 2006, when a few were purchased for spec development. (All successful in 2007-08.)

We'd still bet on 15th finding a buyer for the home as it stands, but, for now, it's the second-biggest lot in town on offer, and some visionary could swoop in with a very different idea of what belongs at this particular address.

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